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"off-dido" 7a+ 550m fa, nangmah valley, Pakistan

 

 

This summer I decided to go and explore the big wall climbing potential in Pakistan, together with three Portuguese friends, Rui Rosado, Ana Silva and Bruno Gaspar. We left for a month and half expedition, what we didn’t know was that the hardest part of all would be actually get to the mountains. Because of the unprecedented floods that caused a big disaster all over Pakistan, victimizing thousands of lives and causing a totally chaos, our team was stuck in Islamabad with no options of going to anywhere. Since the route to Skardu (city that connect with Karakorum mountains) was closed with many road blocks and destroyed bridges, and the plains were not flying because of the bad weather, our only chance was to hire a jeep and leave into a big adventure to try to get in Skardu. After 3 days of hard driving and many no turn back situations the team finally managed to get in Skardu, from that point it just would take 5 more hours by jeep, to at last arrive to Kanday and start the trekking to Amin Brakk base camp. Unfortunately, part of that last road to Kanday had some road blocks to, so it was time to walk, adding 6 hours more to the trekking! On the way it was possible to see lots of destruction caused by giant rock falls that dragged houses and lives on some villages, although we have taken some supplies to local populations, we feel a great impotence in not being able to do more for them…

“Off-dido” 7a+ 550m FA, Babar Wall

Our first target to this trip was to climb in Charakusa Valley, but with the unluckily situation that Pakistan is still living and because we were running out of time, we were forced to change plans to a near destination. So, we choose to explore the beautiful Nangmah Valley.

This green valley still has a great potential with many possibilities for new routes, therefore, after explore the walls around our base camp, we spotted a beautiful crack on an unclimbed wall near to Amin Brakk.

Climbing in high altitude (near 5000m) wasn’t easy and trying to free climb definitely wasn’t a piece of cake either. We found many cracks filled with plants and dirt that forced us to do some cleaning sessions in order to free climb. Apart of that, we could enjoy some high-quality crack climbing, with lots of offwidths adding some emotion to it!

After 4 days of effort, when we were already on easy terrain just two pitches away from the summit, a small hold broke and the next thing I remember I was flying. It was an easy slab with no chance for protection and after 12 meters I crash against a small ledge, breaking my wrist and rupturing my foot ligaments. It took me 4 hours in a lot of pains to get to ground but we did it.

Despite already being a very easy terrain, it would be great having summit this wall. However, with all the situations that we lived, we are glad to even climbed in Pakistan this year and really happy with the route that we have opened and free climbed, and which is very likely the first ascent of this wall, that we call Babar in honor of our cooker, Altaf.


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