Snowland
Trango Tower

Trango Towers

Climbing Routes

Expedition Summary

Max Altitude: 6286m/ 20623 ft

Range: Karakoram

Ideal Duration:30 Days

Climbing: 14 days

Trip Highlights

  • A Fantastic 6000m Peak with Great Views of Karakoram Mountains.
  • Karakoram Highway-“The Eighth Wonder of the World”.
  • Favorite for climbers to training themselves for Higher Elevation.
  • The World’s Greatest nearly Vertical Drop.

Expedition Overview 

The Trango Towers are a group of dramatic granite spires located on the north side of the Trango Towers Base Camp Baltoro Glacier, in  Baltistan, a district of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan (formerly Northern Areas). They are part of the Baltoro Muztagh, a subrange of the Karakoram Range. The Towers offer some of the largest cliffs and most challenging rock climbing in the world. The highest point in the group is the summit of Great Trango Tower, 6,286 m (20,608 ft). The east face of the Great Trango Tower features the world’s greatest nearly vertical drop.

 Structure of the Group

 All of the Trango Towers lie on a ridge, trending northwest-southeast, between the Trango Glacier on the west and the Dunge Glacier on the east. Great Trango itself is a large massif, with four identifiable summits: Main (6,286 m), South or Southwest (circa 6,250 m), East (6,231 m), and West (6,223 m). It is a complex combination of steep snow/ice gullies, steeper rock faces, and vertical to overhanging headwalls, topped by a snowy ridge system.

 Just northwest of Great Trango is the Trango Tower (6,239 m), often called “Nameless Tower“. This is a very large, pointed, rather symmetrical spire which juts 1000 m out of the ridgeline. North of Trango Tower is a smaller rock spire known as “Trango Monk.” To the north of this feature, the ridge becomes less rocky and loses the large granite walls that distinguish the Trango Towers group and make them so attractive to climbers; however the summits do get higher. These summits are not usually considered part of the Trango Towers group, though they share the Trango name. Trango II (6,327 m) lies northwest of the Monk, and the highest summit on the ridge, Trango Ri (6,363 m), lies northwest of Trango II.

 Just southeast of Great Trango (really a part of its southeast ridge) is the Trango Pulpit (6,050m), whose walls present similar climbing challenges to those of Great Trango itself. Further to the south is Trango Castle (5,753 m), the last large peak along the ridge before the Baltoro Glacier.

The Climb-Trango Tower (6286m)

 The Standard Routes

Great Trango is in one of the most spectacular mountain regions on earth with rock walls soaring seemingly endlessly upwards. The well-known rock spire, Trango Tower, is on the same ridgeline as we are taking to Great Trango’s summit and our route passes directly beneath Trango’s needle like structure.

Great Trango looks almost unclimbable from the Baltoro glacier but a route of only moderate difficulty exists by following an approach gully to Trango’s base, then by following the NW ridge we gain the summit snow plateau and the summit. Great Trango was the scene of the remarkable BASE jump completed in the ‘Base Climb’ video and our route of ascent is the same as the climbers in the film took to begin their incredible leap. We will, however, be taking a more subdued approach to descending by reversing our ascent route!

The climbing consists of a 500m climb to camp one via a large gully leading to a huge boulder, which protects the campsite from any rock fall. The next stage is a climb up moderate snow and rock slopes crossing beneath Trango Tower and along to meet the NW ridge and the site of camp two. There can be no more spectacular and picturesque campsite in any mountain range than this one. Rock towers soar all around and the peaks of the upper Baltoro valley will come into view. The summit day from here follows a knife-edge ridge to a small ice cliff, which leads us onto the summit snowfields and a few hours later the summit itself.

To date, Nameless has 8 routes to its summit, all on its Southeast and Southwest faces. Great Trango has 2 big-wall routes (and one variation) up its East/Northeast Face. Several alpine routes go up the Northwest and West sides of Great Trango. The wall routes are on good quality granite which resembles a cross between the clean compact granite of Yosemite and the coarse granular granite of City of Rocks. Nameless Tower is more featured than Great Trango with more cracks and possible lines. Routes on Nameless are approached from either the Trango or Dungee Glaciers, while Great Trango’s wall routes are appoached from the Dungee Glacier. Great Trango’s approach is more serious and dangerous than the Nameless approaches.

CLIMBING HISTORY

Overall, the Trango Towers group has seen some of the most difficult and significant climbs ever accomplished, due to the combination of altitude, total height of the routes, and the steepness of the rock. All of the routes are highly technical climbs.

Great Trango

Great Trango was first climbed in 1977 by Galen Rowell, John Roskelley, Kim Schmitz, Jim Morrissey and Dennis Hennek by a route which started from the west side (Trango Glacier), and climbed a combination of ice ramps and gullies with rock faces, finishing on the upper South Face. The east face of Great Trango was first climbed (to the East Summit) in 1984 by the Norwegians Hans Christian Doseth and Finn Dæhli, who both died on the descent.

The first successful climb of and return from the East Summit was in 1992, by Xaver Bongard and John Middendorf, via “The Grand Voyage”, a route parallel to that of the ill-fated Norwegians. These two climbs have been called “perhaps the hardest big-wall climbs in the world.”

The least difficult route on Great Trango is on the Northwest Face, and was climbed in 1984 by Andy Selters and Scott Woolums. This is nonetheless a very serious, technical climb.

Trango (Nameless) Tower

Trango (Nameless) Tower was first climbed in 1976 by the legendary British climber Joe Brown, along with Mo Anthoine, Martin Boysen, and Malcolm Howells. There are at least eight separate routes to the summit.
One notable route is known as Eternal Flame (named after a Bangles album), first climbed on 20 September 1989 by Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich. This route ascends the South-East Face of the Tower, and was climbed almost entirely free (in stages, using fixed ropes to return to a base each night). This helped inaugurate an era of pure rock-climbing techniques and aesthetics on high-altitude peaks.

Other summits

The West summit of Great Trango and the Trango Pulpit were both first climbed in 1999. The West summit was climbed by two separate teams, one American and one Russian, almost simultaneously, by parallel routes. The American team of Alex Lowe, Jared Ogden, and Mark Synnott climbed a long, bold, highly technical line which they called “Parallel Worlds.” They reported difficulties up to 5.11 and A4. The Russian team of Igor Potan’kin, Alexandr Odintsov, Ivan Samoilenko and Yuri Koshelenko climbed an equally proud route (Eclissi) and encountered similar technical challenges. Both climbs were nominated for the prestigious Piolet d’or award in 1999. The Pulpit was climbed by a Norwegian team (Robert Caspersen, Gunnar Karlsen, Per L. Skjerven, and Einar Wold) over a total of 38 days on the wall. The team reported of difficulties up to A4/5.11.

BASE Jump

On 26 August 1992, Australians Nic Feteris and Glenn Singleman climbed Great Trango and then BASE jumped from an elevation of 5,955 metres (19,537 ft) on the Northwest Face, landing on the northern side of the Dunge Glacier at an altitude of 4,200 metres (13,779 ft). This was the highest starting elevation for a BASE jump on record. The current Guinness World Record for a BASE jump starting elevation is held by Singleman himself and partner Heather Swan for a jump from 6604 meters (21,667 ft) from Meru Peak in northern India on 23 May 2006.

Recent Ascents

Some of the more recent ascents on Great Trango have focused on the longer routes found on the west and south sides. In particular, in 2004 Josh Wharton and Kelly Cordes completed a new, very long (2,256 metre/7,400 ft) route on the Southwest Ridge, or Azeem Ridge, to the Southwest Summit. Though not as extremely technical as the East Face routes, the climb was notable for the extremely lightweight and fast (5 days) style in which it was done.

Over 7 days in August 2005, two Slovak climbers, Gabo Cmarik and Jozef Kopold, climbed a new route, which they termedAssalam Alaikum, to the right of the Wharton/Cordes line on the south face of Great Trango. The climb comprised around 90 pitches, up to 5.11d A2. They used a lightweight style similar to that of Wharton and Cordes.

In the same month, Samuel Johnson, Jonathon Clearwater and Jeremy Frimer made the first ascent of the southwest ridge of Trango II, which they termed Severance Ridge. The route involved 1,600 m of climbing over five days, with rock climbing up to 5.11 A2 and ice and mixed climbing up to AI3 M5.
Also in August 2005, a South African team, composed of Peter Lazarus, Marianne Pretorius, James Pitman and Andreas Kiefer, climbed to the summit via the Slovenian route. Pretorius was the third woman to reach the summit.

During May/June 2008, the Norwegian route on the east face of Great Trango (1984) was repeated by the four Norwegian climbers Rolf Bae, Bjarte Bø, Sigurd Felde and Stein Ivar Gravdal, spending 27 days in the wall to reach the summit, and three more days for the descent. This is reportedly the first repetition of the route, and thus also the first successful ascent and return. Rolf Bae died later that summer. He was one of 11 climbers who were killed in the 2008 K2 Disaster.

In mid August 2009, Alexander and Thomas Huber managed to make an all free ascent of “Eternal Flame” on Nameless Tower, with climbing up to french grade 7c+.

 

 

 

Holiday Itinerary

Day

1

ARRIVE RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD
On arrival transfer the group to hotel/ Guest House, in Rawalpindi Islamabad (the airport is situated mid-way between Islamabad and Rawalpindi). You will meet your guide in the afternoon at the hotel for a trip briefing and gear check.
Day

2

Fly to Skardu or Drive to Besham/Chilas from Islamabad (Mini Van 480 km)
Drive 10-12hrs by air conditioned coach/car/Mini Van to Chilas (480km)/ Besham on the Karakoram highway. Overnight at Shangrila Indus View Hotel or Panorama hotel. Meals :(Incl: Breakfast) O/N Hotel/Guest House
Day

3

Drive to Skardu from Chilas/Besham (Jeep 275 km/500km) or In Skardu
Preparations for our Expedition and depending on our time of arrival into Skardu, there may be time to visit the town and possibly an excursion to Kachura Lake situated at the edge of the valley. Skardu is the regional capital of Baltistan, lying at the edge of a broad floodplain that is the confluence of the Shyok, Indus and Basha Rivers. Meals: (Incl: Breakfast) O/N Hotel
Day

4

Drive to Askoli 3000m(Approx 7-8 hours)
We will travel by jeep with our crew and supplies along the Shigar and Braldu valleys to Askole. Villages in Shigar have changed little in over five hundred years; farms with fields of barley, wheat and vegetables surrounded by stone walls and stands of poplar, willow and apricot trees. The apricot is a very important crop in the north, having a multitude of uses to the Balti and Hunzakut people. Villagers greet us as we pass through on the rugged dirt and stone road that leads to Baltoro. As we approach, the landscapes become desert like and once within the sheer valley of the Braldu, it is necessary to cross the river several times by suspension bridges. At various points the road may have collapsed due to erosion and we will transfer the gear across on foot to a vehicle on the other side. Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

5

Trek to Jula 3200m (Approx 6 hours)
After considerable organisation of equipment, supplies and porter loads for the journey ahead, we commence trekking towards Jhola. The valley opens out to reveal the Biafo Glacier flowing for more than fifty kilometres from the Hispar La pass to the Braldu. We have our first taste of moraine walking as we cross the snout of the glacier and descend to our lunch spot beside the river. We also experience the harsh, stark environment that forms the base of these great mountains. Our route takes us to the confluence of the Braldu and Dumordo Rivers where the infamous flying fox or 'jola' is located. It is still there, however a footbridge has now been built making the passage much easier by every perspective. (Consider individual passage of 50 to 70 people with loads, compared with walking straight across a steel bridge!). In past years it was necessary to make a high traverse across a rocky face and descend steeply to the riverside of the Dumordo to gain the flying fox. There is now a safe and pleasant pathway above the river. It is this valley, fed by the Panmah Glacier that was once a passage between Baltistan and Yarkhand across the West Mustagh Pass (5370m) into China. Once across, we descend beside the river to the Braldu and then follow along its banks to our camp. Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

6

Hike to Payu 3450m (Approx 7-8 hours)
The route is mainly at riverside throughout the day, switching up and down somewhat according to the level of erosion and water levels of the Braldu. The Masherbrum Group may be glimpsed to our right via the Xiangang Valley. The range is a vast array of peaks that extend almost the full length of the southern side of Baltoro. Walking conditions are hot and dry and care must be taken to prevent sunburn, especially when most members will have come from a southern winter! As we approach camp several small glacially fed rivulets flow down from the north and the first peaks of the Trango and Uli Biaho group appear on the distant ridgeline. The vast snout of the Baltoro glacier, the fourth longest in Pakistan, is also visible but it's hard to gather a sense of scale from here Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

7

Hike to Trnago Tower base camp Base Camp 4100m (Approx 5-6 hours
Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

8

Rest Day at Base Camp
A day to get established at base camp and to sort out personal and group equipment. We prepare for the climb. Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

9-23

Trango Tower Ascent
We have up to 15 days to climb the peak. Three camps will be established above BC: Initially gear needs to be moved up the mountain to form our camps as well as the route opened. A steady shuttle approach works the most effectively, with everyone contributing to achieve these two goals
Day

24

Depart Base Camp to Jula (Approx 7-8 hours)
Together with our staff, we will dismantle base camp and retrace the trekking trail down the Baltoro Glacier. Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

25

Trek to Askoli (Approx 6-7 hours)
The second day of the walk out from Base Camp. A further 6-8 hrs walk will take us to Askoli village where we camp. Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

26

Drive to Skardu (Approx 5-7 hours)
An early start from Askoli will enable us to reach Skardu in time for lunch and spend a relaxing afternoon at Hotel. Meals: (Incl: B-L-D) O/N Camping
Day

27

Drive to Chilas/Besham 1280m (Approx 8-12 hours)
Drive to Chilas or Besham and overnight at the Chilas or in Besham on the banks of the Indus. The road is good for most of the journey but occasionally subject to landslide breaks which can delay us. We follow right beside the Indus from Skardu and view the incredible force of the river by the deep gorges it has carved out. We then join the Karakoram Highway (KKH) which was built by the Chinese over twenty years and runs from Kashgar to 'Pindi. As we wind our way southwards down to the plains, we cross several passes thickly forested in pine and birch. The hills open out to the vast plains and deltas of Punjab province. The traffic becomes more chaotic as we approach Rawalpindi and one feels the temperatures of the plains once again. Should we be able to fly, the additional time will be well spent in 'Pindi; shopping and sightseeing. The Bazaars have endless numbers of streets to explore and traders to bargain with. Meals: Breakfast O/N Hotel
Day

28

Drive from Chilas/Besham to Islamabad
Meals: Breakfast O/N Hotel
Day

29

Contingency Day in Islamabad or for Road Travel
Meals: Breakfast O/N Hotel
Day

30

Fly back to Home
Expedition Concluded in Islamabad After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your return flights Please Note: The above schedule should be taken as a guide only. Inclement weather may cause delays in our journey, whether we are on foot or travelling by vehicle. Our schedule has been planned to allow for variations and where necessary, spare days will be used to compensate for these changes. Our guide reserves the right to make modifications or alterations to the trip schedule in the best interests of all involved. A flexible approach by all allows us to alter plans efficiently and effectively and achieve trip objectives.
Departure Trip Dates Islamabad Islamabad Availability
2016
1st Departure 01 May - 31 May 01-May-2016 31-May-2016 Spaces Book Now
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