Simone Moro’s and Hervè Barmasse’s departure date is set for July 5, 2008. They will arrive in Islamabad on the 8th of July and after sorting out bureaucratic formalities at the Pakistan Ministry of Tourism and preparing the mountaineering food and equipment for the next two months, this dynamic-duo will set off to climb Batura II. Follow Simone and Hervè’s progress on the mountain, by reading intriguing dispatch blogs and seeing beautiful pictures.
This dispatch blog will follow the team from the road to Chilas, to Aliabad, to Hassanabad, to trekking to their base camp on the Batokshi glacier (where they will install their base camp at approximately 3900 meters), and finally to Batura II. Simone and Hervè will dedicate almost two months of their time climbing the mountain and exploring the area.
Simone Explains…Why Batura II!
It is a well known fact that there are hundreds of un-violated and unexplored mountains on our planet and I wanted to find the identity of the highest of these peaks. Batura II is 7762 meters and is located in Pakistan’s western Karakorum in the Batura Muztagh group. Batura II is also called Pik 31 or Hunza Kunji. It was extremely difficult to locate and find exact information on its history. Many internet sites and some publications listed it as one of the summits climbed in 1978 by a Japanese expedition. I then discovered, thanks to precious and scientific information from the German Wolfgang Heichel, that it had NEVER been climbed and that there have been 4 attempts to climb the summit. The first one in 1959 by an Anglo-German expedition, then in 1978 by the Japanese which was concluded by reaching Batura IV by Ishikawa Ito and Makoto Ohkubo, after having tried the Southern face of Batura II. It was the climber Ito that supplied the details concerning the climb and revealing the achievement of Batura IV. The Poles then tried in 1983 but they then fell back on Batura I after an attempt on Batura II. The Germans tried again in 2002. I was given information and pictures by Markus Walter, taken during their recent attempt. Thank God alpinism is anything but dead. There is still climbers who are trying to escape from its fossilization and in my small way I am trying to help this change.
Batura II with its 7762 meters represents the highest un-violated mountain on this earth. Even if there are still some fore-summits (or satellite summits) of mountains with a higher altitude that await to be climbed, for example Lhotse middle east 8376 m or Nupse central 7815 m and a few others, these summits are not considered independent and autonomous as is the case of Batura II which is thus identified even by its name (Batura II and not Batura east, or west, or central) as a mountain which is part of the Batura Muztagh group in the same way as those belonging to the Annapurna group, which were also identified with the names I,II, III, IV etc according to their altitude and independent location. The southern face of Batura II, the side which will be the object of our attempt, is definitely more difficult but less dangerous compared to the western face. It is the same face on which previous attempts were made, but which we will attempt by following a new and different line from what has been followed up until now.
My climbing partner will be the Italian alpinist Hervè Barmasse. It will only be the two of us in the whole region of Batura Muztagh and this will guarantee solitude and total independence which is at the core of our philosophy. If we add these factors to the extreme high altitude of the summit, the unknown factor of the ascent route and the complete “virginity” of the whole upper section of the mountain and the actual summit, we can only claim that our project is at the same time exciting, difficult and adventurous. Only in the depths of winter or in very few other situations or faces can you find this situation on an 8000 meter peak. – Simone Moro