Piolets d'Or - Luphgar Sar West (7,157M)

Luphgar Sar West (7,157M)

The western end of the Hispar Muztagh with :
(A) Distaghil Sar (7,885m),
(B) Lupghar Sar West (7,175m), showing the 2018 route on the west face,
(C) Momhil Sar (7,414m),
(D) Trivor (7,728m) and
(E) Khunyang Chhish (7,852m).
Hansjörg Auer on the Baltbar Glacier, and his line on the west face of Lupghar Sar West.
©Hansjörg Auer/American Alpine Journal

WEST FACE 1,000M, M4 55°,

The rarely-attempted Lupghar Sar massif in the Hispar Muztagh of the Western Karakoram comprises three peaks on a high east-west summit ridge. The west summit was first climbed in 1979 by Germans via the southwest ridge, which featured dangerously rotten rock - a characteristic of this summit. It was repeated the same year, and again in 1980, by Japanese, the first of these expeditions continuing east for more than one and a half kilometres along the sharp ridge to the Central (Main) summit. These were
full scale sieges and neither the West or Central peaks were seriously attempted again until 2018.

After extensive acclimatization and scouting of both face and complex approach, Hansjörg Auer left base camp and navigated the wild Baltbar Glacier to a bivouac at 6,200m below the left side of the west face of Lupghar Sar West. The next day he made a rapid ascent of the west face to reach the steep upper section of the northwest ridge at 6,900m. Although he had planned a second bivouac, he decided to cache his gear and head for the top. Very loose mixed terrain and a highly exposed, narrow, corniced crest led to the highest point. Auer managed to descend to base camp by the evening of the same day. Although the technicalities were not high, this was bold, committing and precarious climbing, with a taxing descent of the same route, completely alone at high altitude and in a remarkably fast time.

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