| Pakistan 2007 - Expedition to
Mountain Buni Zom 6551m
Tuesday 17 July 2007: Climbing to the 1st camp
At 8:00 the first team starts from BC climbing higher. First team was consisted by Vasilis, Manos, Stamatis, Dimitris, Kostas and me. First part is trekking for an hour where we arrive in to the vertical rock (4250m). Vasilis and Manos start to climb the rock. It was 2 pitches, the first one is 30 meters and the second one 50m grated us V- (UIAA). When the climb the place fix rope in order the others to climb easier and with safety. After the vertical rock the route pass through steep rocks with hard scrabbling parts. Also we climb on the rotten rocks fields and at altitude of 4650 meters we found rock with little running water. After we traverse the rotten field and we reach the end of the glacier where a huge stream starts. We were at 4750 meters and we decide to make the first camp (13:30). We erect our tents but we had only two sleeping bags, 2 mattresses. Moreover we had only one small chocolate each to eat for the next 24 hours and nothing more. Even though, we decide to stay at the night there in order to acclimatize better. In the afternoon was quite warm but at night the temperature drops about -5 C. We wake up very often at night because of the cold and the uncomfortable place. The second team consisted my George, Akis, Stavros, Fani, Vaggelis and Nikiforos trek towards the Phargam An pass and continue the valley that guides to Rinzho Zom peaks.
Wednesday 18 July 2007: Descent from C1 to BC
At 5:20 we start descent fast because of the cold. We descent fast on the rotten rock fields and we follow an different route, following a rocky ridge. The ridge ends into a vertical wall 30 meters where we use our last 30 meters part of the fixed rope. The rope was just on the limit of the wall, so we fix it and we rappel the wall down. Finally we reach the big wall where we place a 60 meters rappel, and descent each of us. Close to BC we met the members of the second team that are following our route and they where going to spend a night in C1. At last we eat tasty food in BC after 28 hours almost hungry. It was a warm day and we had a shower in the cold streams of the water of Khoraborth glacier.
Thursday 19 July 2007: The second team descents from C1 to BC
The first team remain in BC resting, while the second team descent from C1. In the morning we butcher the goat and we had a reach lunch all together. At the afternoon, Stamatis got out his finger, because he falls when he was bouldering. George put Stamatis's finger in the correct place. Stamatis was not able to continue next day with first team such he moved to the second, having time to get well.
Friday 20 July 2007: The first team climbs from BC to C1
At 8:00 in the morning we arrange out equipment to climb again to C1. Vaggelis had replace Stamati in the first team. After about 3 hours we reach the C1 where we spend the night. Now we carry a lot of equipments in order to continue and place the second camp higher. Second team was remains in BC. Weather was good but sky was covered by clouds.
Saturday 21 July 2007: Climbing from C1 higher and place C2
At the first day light we arrange our backpacks, and we start climbing on the glacier. Backpacks were quite heavy. The first part, the face of glacier (Khoraborht) was quite steep and needs crampons to climb over the glacier. Khoraborht was very good almost no crevasses and it was clear ice. We found only two crevasses on the route to C2. First we climb about 200 meters and after we where in the middle of the glacier. In the middle glacier was separated into two parts and the south that is going to the south of Main peak and north that is going to north of Main peak. The two parts was separated with a line zone of rocks. This line was the extension of SW ridge of Main peak and ends with a easy climbing peak about 5500m in the middle of Khoraborht glacier. We follow the south part of the glacier and at altitude of 5428m on the glacier we decide to make the second camp (C2). We decide to place the camp here because water running from north part of the glacier over the line zone to south part of the glacier closed to C2, such we had water from there. Our plan was to climb Buni Zom Main peak from the south face. This route was followed twice, once form Japanese in 1975 and from American in 1978. While we create the camp the weather changed and it starts snowing. Next morning, there were about 10 cm of fresh snow. Together with Dimitri we climb the line zone and we reach the north part of Khoraborht glacier. We saw that it was quite far to approach the north col of Main peak. Such, the route from south face, which we choose, look like more viable than the route from the north ridge. The second team climb from BC to C1 where they stay at night.
Sunday 22 July 2007: Descent from C2 to BC
Late in the morning we start to descent from C2 going back to BC for rest. The weather in morning was good but suddenly clouds cover the glacier and it starts snowing again. After two hours we reach C1 where we met the second team, which was starting to go the C2. We give a GPS with the waypoint of the route to C2 in order to found the route to C2. At noon we reach BC where we met many villagers from Phargam village, Amir and porter of 2002 expedition was there. The second team found the C2 and spend the night there.
Monday 23 July 2007: Resting in BC
The first team stay and rest in BC while the second one descent direct from C2 to BC. Stavros was delayed and we were worry about him, but he arrive an hour latter. The rest of the day we make the plans for the final push to the summit. At night it was raining together with strong wind.
Tuesday 24 July 2007: The summit plan
We decide who we will continue for the summit day route. We make the equipment preparation. We eat well, because the cookers cook a second goat which the villagers bring from the village. The weather in the morning was good but at the afternoon was bad like almost everyday.
Wednesday 25 July 2007: Climb from BC to C1
Early in the morning both teams left from BC to climb higher, first direct to C@ while second to C1. The first team reach the C2 early in the afternoon and prepare the equipment for the tomorrow summit day. We cook well in the camp and we sleep early to be fresh for the summit day.
Thursday 26 July 2007: Summit day for Buni Zom Main
We wake up at 12:00 at midnight, and we start at 1:35. The weather was very bad ans it was snowing. Also it was foggy and we can not see farther than 30 meters. We were very lucky because found the col between the Main and South peaks and after start to climb on the left side into the south face of Buni Zom Main. It was still dark, the slope was quite steep about 45 degrees and we arrive into a dead lock. We decide to do a traverse in to a mixed rock/snow field to be in the couloir that guide to the southwest ridge. It was light and we start to climb straight the south face. A little bit higher, over 6000 meters, Manolis was not filling well and we roped all together. The climbing tempo was slower because the slope getting always steeper and steeper. The last part before the SW ridge was 60 degrees steep. In the end we arrive on the SW ridge at the altitude of 6370 meters where we stop to rest. Vasilis starts to climb the ridge but the deep and unstable snow was very danger. From the other side the ridge had a cornice and make unable to climb in the ridge knife, such we had to climb few meters lower from the ridge into the south face. After few meters we decide that it was impossible to continue because of avalanche danger, and decide to turn back. First we did a 60 meters rappel but it was a slow procedure, such we attach the two ropes and we did 120 meters rappels, and Vasillis the last one climb down. Veggelis get cold and was worst every time that was passing. We spend lot of time in the belays waiting in the cold without moving. We did more than 7 rappels to reach the slope with less that 40 degrees steepness. The second team was in C2 since early in the afternoon and came higher to check what happen with us and if we need some help. Finally at 17:00 we were back to C2 together with our friends of the second team. Vasilis and Dimitris continue to descent until the C1 because C2 was full. The rest 10 members sleep in to the 3 tents (2 of the camp and 3rd of the second team that bring here).
Friday 27 July 2007: The summit day of the second team to Buni Zom South
The second team left from C2 at 12:30 after midnight for the summit Buni Zom South 6220m. I wake up at 6:30, it was very cold and saw them to reach the west ridge of the peak. I leave from C2 alone because everybody were sleeping and did not to continue. I pass from C1 (9:45) where I met Vasili and Dimitri and I continue alone down to BC. In BC I met Akbar alone since the 2 cookers were in the village. The second team reach the altitude of 6000 meters and because of the cold weather to summit continue only George and Akis, the others turn back to C2. Stavros was not filling well such he turn back to C2 earlier that the others. The west ridge was steep with huge cornice to the south side. They reach the summit pf the south peak 6220m early in the morning (8:00). After few hours Vasilis and Dimitris arrive and the rest members reach the BC late at the afternoon very tiered. They move all the equipment from C2 to BC, and they left only 2 tents in C1. In the BC at the afternoon a second expedition arrive, consisted by two Danish climbers named Morten and Carsten. They had contact with me half a year before and I give them the appropriate info to organize that trip. My friend, Razaq guide the two Danish climbers from Islamabad up to BC. Razaq remain in BC until the end of the expedition.
Saturday 28 July 2007: Resting in BC
Today was a resting day after the attempt to the peaks Main and South. Also, we make plans for the climbing of the next days that remains.
Sunday 29 July 2007: The first climbing party is leaving
We make the new teams, first team with Vasillis and Dimitris left for the peak Buli Zom which is located southeast from BC. Buli Zom is exciting the trekkers on the route from Phargam to BC. It is visible in the left side of the path with the huge 2200m wall. The rest of the members remain in BC and the team were Nikolas and George for the unclimbed peak 6MT, Manolis, Vaggelis and Nikiforos for the rocky pyramid west of 6MT which we call it as 6MT West with altitude about 5900m. Kostas and Stamatis chose to explore the peas near Phargam An pass (5045m), while Akis, Fani and Stavros plans to climb the rock tower which is standing on the path to Phargam An. Morten and Carsten left very early in the morning to find a route east of the Buni Zom Main peak from the Gordoghan Zom glacier. They climb up to Gordoghan glacier but they did not know the correct path such they did climbing in rock and rappel to descent. They stay a night at the altitude of 4700 meters on the Gordoghan glacier southeast of the main peak.
Monday 30 July 2007: Approaching the peak 6MT
Early in the morning together with George leave from BC for the C1. The route was the same that we did the previous days. We pass from th rock wall with the fixed ropes and we reach C1 in 3 hours. We rest there for an hour and we continue climbing on the glacier (Khoraborht) for about one hour. After we turn right and we follow the first tongue of the glacier to the right. This part of the glacier starts between Buni Zom South and 6MT (the col between the two peaks). The approach of the tongue was difficult because of the rotten rocks. Higher the glacier was covered by a think layer of rocks. At the 5125m we found a plateau where we make a bivouac. We build a wall around the bivouac and cover it wit a aluminium blanket. The weather changed and it starts snowing, we make our dinner. After an hour Manolis, Vaggelis and Nikiforos appear. They bivouac at the same place but only Vaggelis had a mattes and a sleeping bag. Manos and Nikiforos pass the night without any sleeping equipment. We rest for few hours because we wake up 12:00 at midnight.
Tuesday 31 July 2007: The first ascent of the unclimbed peak 6MT
At 1:00 after midnight we left for the summit. The plan was to follow the tongue of glacier until the end after to climb the northwest slope which is guide to a couloir until the ridge between South and 6MT. At 2:00 we reach the base of the steep slope. Weather was clear and we can see the stars but later clouds and fog cover all the area. Looking the light of our friends we saw them to climb the steep ice slopes. Over 5250 meters the steepness of the slope was between 40 and 70 degrees. After the big effort and climbing on the water ice we reach the col between the South and 6MT. We climb in parallel and fast, placing few icescrews. The altitude on the col was 6001 meters and we reach it at 7:00. We decide to continue because with GPS I realize that the summit was not far. We climb the North ridge and finally we reach the summit of 6MT. The route was grated as TD, 900m, 40-70o. This was the first summit of the unclimbed peak 6MT or Buni Zom SS or P6110. We measure altitude of the peak as 6115 meters using the GPS. We stand 2 meters lower because of the huge cornice. Clouds cover our view to south and after to every direction. The only that we saw was that we really was higher from any other peak closed to us of 6MT group. We stay at the summit for about half an hour and we start to descent. We did 30 meter rappels because we had only one rope with us. We leave all pitons, slings and icescrews. We make more that 10 rappels. After start to descent free, same rock falls hit us. I was hinted by 3 rocks one in my shoulder and 2 to head but I stay really very like since were small and I remain in the slope. Lower 2 stone falls pass near us make incredible voice and the stones passing close to us with enormous speed. Finally at 13:00 we reach the bivouac place where we left part of our equipments. Over my backpack we found a stone where was written the message "ΒΟΥΤΙΡΕ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΗΣ ΕΙΧΕ ΑΤΥΧΗΜΑ" (Vasilis had accident). It was the worst that can listen. Without delay even though we was very tired we take the rest of our equipment and start to descent. The message was written from Manolis because when they reach the ridge, about 5500m, they contact with BC using the VHF. At 15:00 we where back to C1. We contact again with BC without to learn more news. We take the rest of the equipment from C1 and continue lower. Our backpacks were overloaded. The scrabbling part was very difficult and dangerous. We put out the fixed ropes and with our ropes we did the rappels. We arrive very tired in the bottom of the wall where Stamatis and Kostas arrive, give us the bad news and they carry our backpacks back to BC. I was very sadness because I realize that the chance to save Vasili was not much. The accident happen at the altitude of 5000 meters when they descent from the north face of Buli Zom. Vasilis slip between the rappels at 21:00 and Dimitris descent alone and search for him until 3:00 in the next morning. After Dimitris came alone back to BC where inform the tragedy. Today, Fani, Akis, Stavros, Razaq and Akbar were in the area of the accident without to find the lost friend. We make a 10 member team which will go to search tomorrow again. Danish climbers came back from Gordoghan glacier and they offer to help us to come with us tomorrow.
Wednesday 1 August 2007: Searching for Vasili
Ten climbers left from BC at 5:30 in the morning. We cross the main stream (Phargam Gol) of the Phargam valley. After few kilometers lower we start climbing the slopes of Buli Zom. Few hours later we reach the glacier. The terrain was very difficult and we climb on the rotten rocks. Looking ahead, we saw the 1000 meter north wall which was climb for first time from Vasili and Dimitri. They climb strait up the couloirs and 3 vertical icefalls and they reach the ridge on 30/7 in the afternoon 18:00. They stand on the knife ridge few meters lower of the summit because they were already delay and it was dark. We reach the altitude of 4900 meters using a rope to pass a rocky part left of the glacier. Two roped teams continue climbing carefully higher on the glacier where it was full of crevasses and seracs. They look into many crevasses and reach some very dangerous places. Suddenly for a second time we did not find any footprint of Vasilis. We turn back frustrated in the BC. When we were lower on the glacier a huge serac collapsed over us, we stay very lucky because we pass from there few minutes earlier. Phargam Gol stream at the afternoon was full of water and it very difficult to cross it. We follow the stream higher and higher and we climb higher of BC to find a safe place to cross it. Even though, Kostas falls into the stream but he moved outside. Stavros was the last one and he falls into the stream. The stream draw away Stavros for more than 50 meters. Hw was lucky since we caught from a rock and moved outside of the stream. Stavros came at BC completely frozen, he can not even speak. We realize that there were no chances to find the lost Vasili, and we decide next day to stop searching and go back to the village.