Three Czechs want to remove a white spot on the map of the world’s highest mountains. Pavel Korinek, Pavel Bem and Jiri Janak arrived in Pakistan to first climb the seven-thousander Muchu Chhish. “We are happy to be here, after all the troubles caused by the COVID pandemic around the globe,” Bem said after arriving in Islamabad (see the video below): “We hope we have a good luck, Inshallah!”The three climbers now want to acclimatize first in the north of the country. Up to two summit attempts in Alpine style are then planned for late August, early September.
The 7,453-meter-high Muchu Chhish in the Batura massif in the Karakoram is considered the second highest still unclimbed summit on earth – although it is more of a secondary peak than a mountain of its own from a geographical point of view because of its low prominence (height difference between the summit and the col to the nearest peak) of 263 metres.
However, no one has yet set foot on the highest point of Muchu Chhish. In August 2014 the British climbers Peter Thompson, Tim Oates and Phil De-Beger abandoned an attempt in the icy South Face of the mountain at 6,000 meters.
Three out of nine
“Of course it is a dangerous mountain, there are things we know nothing about,” said Pavel Burda, the spokesman for the expedition, to the portal iDnes.cz. “In a first ascent, every meter can be a great adventure.” Burda was one of the original nine Czech climbers who actually wanted to tackle Muchu Chhish this summer. Because of the corona pandemic only three oft hem remained in the end.
Expedition leader is the 39-year-old Pavel Korinek. In summer 2018 he was one of six Czech mountaineers who summited the 8,125-meter-high Nanga Parbat – as was Pavel Bem.
The 57-year-old, who as a politician of the liberal-conservative ODP party was Lord Mayor of Prague from 2002 to 2010, has the most Himalayan and Karakoram experience within the trio. Besides Nanga Parbat, Bem scaled Mount Everest (in 2007) and also the other Seven Summits, the highest mountains of all continents. In 2012 Pavel also reached the summit of K2, the second highest mountain on earth. Jiri Janak is still a relatively unknown quantity in the high altitude mountaineering scene. In 2019 he explored Muchu Chhish along with Korinek.
Second foreign expedition
The Czechs are the second foreign expedition team to set out after Pakistan’s reopening for tourists on 8 August. As reported, a group of the commercial operator Summit Climb is already in the Karakoram with the German expedition leader Felix Berg. The five mountaineers want to tackle two still unclimbed mountains in the Shimshal Valley, which are about 6,000 meters high.
The highest still unclimbed mountain on earth is the 7,570-meter-high Gangkhar Puensum on the border between Bhutan and China. In the 1980s there were several unsuccessful attempts to climb the mountain. In 1994 the Kingdom of Bhutan closed all mountains above 6,000 meters, since 2004 mountaineering is generally prohibited in the Himalayan state, only trekking is allowed. In Bhutan the mountains are considered the residence of the gods and therefore should not be climbed.
P.S.: It is still open when the fall season in Nepal can start. Due to the recent sharp rise in the number of corona infections, the government has again announced a lockdown for the Kathmandu Valley this week.