Czech climbers succeed in first ascent of the 7000er Muchu Chhish

Muchu Chhish
Muchu Chhish

One more alpine highlight, one less blank spot on the world map of mountains. The Czechs Zdenek Hak, Radoslav Groh and Jaroslav Bansky achieved the first ascent of the 7,453-meter-high Muchu Chhish in the Karakoram in northern Pakistan – without bottled oxygen.

Previously, it was considered the second highest unclimbed mountain in the world, but the highest accessible: the 7,570-meter-high Gankhar Puensum on the border between Bhutan and China is closed to climbers. In Bhutan, the mountains are considered the abode of the gods and are therefore not allowed to be climbed. Since 2004, only trekking has been permitted in the Himalayan state.

Success at the fourth attempt

Since 2020, three Czech teams had cut their teeth on Muchu Chhish in the Batura massif. Sometimes the weather didn’t play ball, sometimes the conditions on the mountain were to blame. Pavel Korinek was involved in all three failed attempts and was now missing from the successful fourth one. In 2020, Korinek reached an altitude of 6,300 meters with Pavel Bem and Jiri Janak. In 2021, he climbed to 6,600 meters along with Tomas Petrecek. In 2023, this duo reached the summit zone of the mountain together with Radoslav Groh. At 7,200 meters, it was the end of the line again. Of this trio, only Groh now reaped the rewards of the previous Czech expeditions.

Groh, Hak and Bansky needed four days to climb via the South Ridge to the Summit Ridge and then to the highest point of Muchu Chhish. “We stood on top on July 5 at 10:20 am and took one more day for the descent,” Hak told the Explorersweb portal. In total, they had covered a distance of 20 kilometers and an altitude difference of 3,687 meters from the base camp.

From a geographical point of view, Muchu Chhish is more of a secondary summit than a mountain in its own right due to its low prominence (height difference between the summit and the col to the nearest peak) of 263 meters. However, this does not diminish the achievement of the three Czechs. After all, they were the first people to set foot on the summit – after climbing it in clean style.

David Göttler returns from Nanga Parbat again without a summit success

Speaking of clean style: German top mountaineer David Göttler has failed for the fourth time to scale Nanga Parbat in alpine style – i.e. without bottled oxygen, without fixed high camps, without high porters and without fixed ropes – via the so-called “Schell Route” (named after the Austrian Hanns Schell, who climbed it in 1976). At around 7,550 meters – i.e. after the ascent through the Rupal Face and the switch to the Diamir side of the mountain – David, Tiphaine Duperier and Boris Langenstein from France turned back. Knee-deep snow stopped the trio.

“Judging by how exhausted we were when we got back to camp (the highest one at 7,400 m), it was clear that we made the right decision,” wrote David on Instagram. “Far from being disappointed, this experience has galvanized my desire to climb Nanga Parbat in this style. Hopefully one day it’ll work out.” Göttler had actually wanted to climb Nanga Parbat with Mike Arnold. However, the US American ran out of time and had to return home early.

Rupal flank of Nanga Parbat
Rupal flank of Nanga Parbat

Meanwhile, the Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks announced the first summit successes of the commercial summer season on Pakistan’s eight-thousanders from Nanga Parbat. On Tuesday, the rope-fixing team – consisting of the Nepalese Lakpa Temba Sherpa and Pemba Sherpa as well as the Pakistanis Dilawar Sadpara and Fida Ali – reached the highest point at 8,125 meters. On Wednesday, the first clients stood on the summit with their Nepalese helpers.

P.S.: Sorry if I’m a bit behind. I’m quite busy because of the European Football Championships in Germany and the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

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