The main objective of our expedition this summer is to make the first ascent of Muchu Chhish 7453m, which is located in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. Lindsay Griffin writes on the BMC website “Muchu Chhish...according to some authorities is the highest unclimbed peak in the world (depending on prominence) for which it is possible to get a permit.”

Indeed, according to this list only Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan is higher at 7570m, and mountaineering has been banned in Bhutan since 2003.

However some people might question whether Muchu Chhish is actually a separate summit rather than just a subsidiary top. A common definition of a mountain is a summit with 300m prominence. Prominence is the elevation difference between a summit and the highest point (col/saddle) that separates that summit from any higher summit.

Muchu Chhish has a prominence of only 273m. There is a col at 7180m below the summit, beyond which there is a higher summit, Batura V, 7531m. Beyond this is Batura I, 7793m, which is the highest mountain in the Batura Muztagh.

Nevertheless, Muchu Chhich is over two kilometres from Batura V and at least it does have its own name. It is also a very inaccessible summit. Our route up the south ridge is long, and from the col at 7180m it is still 1.1 kilometres to the summit.

As far as we are concerned, as we drag ourselves up the seemingly endless slopes of Muchu Chhish there will be no doubt in our minds that we are actually on a mountain!

[caption id="attachment_6134" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Our route follows the left side of the obvious ridge. At the top of the ridge, the summit of Muchu Chhish is off to the right in the clouds. Our route follows the left side of the obvious ridge. At the top of the ridge, the summit of Muchu Chhish is off to the right in the clouds.[/caption]

So why are mountains unclimbed? Some are technically difficult or, as is the case with Muchu Chhish, inaccessible. Others are in areas closed to mountaineering for political reasons. But most peaks are unclimbed because no one has ever bothered to climb them. In the Karakoram this is often due to their remoteness.

While there are very few unclimbed 7000m peaks left, there are numerous unclimbed 5000m and 6000m peaks in the Pakistani and Indian Karakoram, Nepal and Tibet. However, probably the greatest concentration of significant unclimbed 6000m peaks is in the Chinese Tien Shan mountains. In recent years another popular area for unclimbed peaks has been Kyrgystan.

Finding unclimbed peaks takes a bit of research. The Himalayan Index is a good starting point. This is a list of Karakoram and Himalayan peaks over 6000m on the Alpine Club’s website. It states whether the peak is unclimbed and previous ascents are recorded. One drawback is that peaks below 6000m are not included.

Expedition reports are a useful source of information if you have been able to identify a specific area. Most report writers are very happy to point out other unclimbed objectives in the area. Paper copies of UK expedition reports (Mount Everest Foundation (MEF) reports) are held at the Alpine Club library, the Al Rouse library in Sheffield and at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). Online summaries of reports are available on the RGS Expedition Report Database and the MEF report database. Full MEF and BMC supported expedition reports from 2004 onwards can be found on the Expedition Reports database on the BMC website.

A good photograph of a mountain is often the starting point for an expedition. You can search the internet for these. For the Karakoram check out Lee Harrison’s excellent collection and my stuff.

Since my first expedition to the Karakoram 1988, climbing unclimbed peaks there has become a bit of a hobby of mine, having climbed eight of them, along with making alpine-style ascents of higher peaks. The first ascent of Falolingkish 6178m was probably the most difficult and memorable. I climbed solo up the right edge of the ice face at alpine TD. I don’t know what was more scary; going up without a ledge in sight for 800m or coming down the right-hand ridge.

[caption id="attachment_6135" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Falolingkish south face Falolingkish south face[/caption]

Another memorable climb was a solo attempt on the first ascent of Beka Brakai Chhok 6882m. This climb went well until I reached the start of the summit ridge at 6300m. I didn’t get far along the ridge and I think the picture is self explanatory. The mountain did get climbed a few years later by a different route.

[caption id="attachment_6136" align="aligncenter" width="397"]Beka Brakai Chhok northwest ridge Beka Brakai Chhok northwest ridge[/caption]

What about other unclimbed peaks in the Karakoram? Well here’s a nice one, although it does look a bit dangerous.

[caption id="attachment_6137" align="aligncenter" width="450"]The unclimbed Kuksar II, 6925m. ©Lee Harrison The unclimbed Kuksar II, 6925m. ©Lee Harrison[/caption]

Having climbed your peak, what do you call it if it hasn’t already got a name? I have faced this problem a few times. While the locals may not name a small peak which has no importance to them, they will name a nearby feature which is important to them, usually a pasture or a settlement.

In this way, we named Falolingkish after the pasture of that name, Ghorhil Sar after the settlement of Ghorhil and the Haigutum peaks after the pasture called Haigutum. Although the Haigutum peaks were un-named, you can see from this picture that they are quite significant peaks.

[caption id="attachment_6138" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Haigutum East, Middle and West, from left to right. Haigutum East, Middle and West, from left to right.[/caption]

Back on the subject of our expedition, here is a picture of our second objective. This is to make the first ascent of the southeast couloir of Gutum Talji. The mountain is on the left of the picture and has been climbed before, not surprisingly by myself! Our route will be the long, straight couloir leading to the notch. Although the mountain is small at 5238m, the couloir is about 1000m long.

[caption id="attachment_6139" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Gutum Talji on the left. Gutum Talji on the left.[/caption]

We are leaving for Pakistan on 4th August, which is late in the season. The reason for this is that we plan to attempt Gutum Talji after Muchu Chhish in September when colder conditions will reduce the risk of rock fall in the couloir.

To finish up with, here is a picture of me on my last expedition to the Karakoram, way back in 2008!

[caption id="attachment_6140" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Pete Thompson Pete Thompson[/caption]

Pete Thompson The main objective of our expedition this summer is to make the first ascent of Muchu Chhish 7453m, which is located in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. Lindsay Griffin writes on the BMC website “Muchu Chhish...according to some authorities is the highest unclimbed peak in the world (depending on prominence) for which it is possible to get a permit.”

Indeed, according to this list only Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan is higher at 7570m, and mountaineering has been banned in Bhutan since 2003.

However some people might question whether Muchu Chhish is actually a separate summit rather than just a subsidiary top. A common definition of a mountain is a summit with 300m prominence. Prominence is the elevation difference between a summit and the highest point (col/saddle) that separates that summit from any higher summit.

Muchu Chhish has a prominence of only 273m. There is a col at 7180m below the summit, beyond which there is a higher summit, Batura V, 7531m. Beyond this is Batura I, 7793m, which is the highest mountain in the Batura Muztagh.

Nevertheless, Muchu Chhich is over two kilometres from Batura V and at least it does have its own name. It is also a very inaccessible summit. Our route up the south ridge is long, and from the col at 7180m it is still 1.1 kilometres to the summit.

As far as we are concerned, as we drag ourselves up the seemingly endless slopes of Muchu Chhish there will be no doubt in our minds that we are actually on a mountain!

[caption id="attachment_6134" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Our route follows the left side of the obvious ridge. At the top of the ridge, the summit of Muchu Chhish is off to the right in the clouds. Our route follows the left side of the obvious ridge. At the top of the ridge, the summit of Muchu Chhish is off to the right in the clouds.[/caption]

So why are mountains unclimbed? Some are technically difficult or, as is the case with Muchu Chhish, inaccessible. Others are in areas closed to mountaineering for political reasons. But most peaks are unclimbed because no one has ever bothered to climb them. In the Karakoram this is often due to their remoteness.

While there are very few unclimbed 7000m peaks left, there are numerous unclimbed 5000m and 6000m peaks in the Pakistani and Indian Karakoram, Nepal and Tibet. However, probably the greatest concentration of significant unclimbed 6000m peaks is in the Chinese Tien Shan mountains. In recent years another popular area for unclimbed peaks has been Kyrgystan.

Finding unclimbed peaks takes a bit of research. The Himalayan Index is a good starting point. This is a list of Karakoram and Himalayan peaks over 6000m on the Alpine Club’s website. It states whether the peak is unclimbed and previous ascents are recorded. One drawback is that peaks below 6000m are not included.

Expedition reports are a useful source of information if you have been able to identify a specific area. Most report writers are very happy to point out other unclimbed objectives in the area. Paper copies of UK expedition reports (Mount Everest Foundation (MEF) reports) are held at the Alpine Club library, the Al Rouse library in Sheffield and at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). Online summaries of reports are available on the RGS Expedition Report Database and the MEF report database. Full MEF and BMC supported expedition reports from 2004 onwards can be found on the Expedition Reports database on the BMC website.

A good photograph of a mountain is often the starting point for an expedition. You can search the internet for these. For the Karakoram check out Lee Harrison’s excellent collection and my stuff.

Since my first expedition to the Karakoram 1988, climbing unclimbed peaks there has become a bit of a hobby of mine, having climbed eight of them, along with making alpine-style ascents of higher peaks. The first ascent of Falolingkish 6178m was probably the most difficult and memorable. I climbed solo up the right edge of the ice face at alpine TD. I don’t know what was more scary; going up without a ledge in sight for 800m or coming down the right-hand ridge.

[caption id="attachment_6135" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Falolingkish south face Falolingkish south face[/caption]

Another memorable climb was a solo attempt on the first ascent of Beka Brakai Chhok 6882m. This climb went well until I reached the start of the summit ridge at 6300m. I didn’t get far along the ridge and I think the picture is self explanatory. The mountain did get climbed a few years later by a different route.

[caption id="attachment_6136" align="aligncenter" width="397"]Beka Brakai Chhok northwest ridge Beka Brakai Chhok northwest ridge[/caption]

What about other unclimbed peaks in the Karakoram? Well here’s a nice one, although it does look a bit dangerous.

[caption id="attachment_6137" align="aligncenter" width="450"]The unclimbed Kuksar II, 6925m. ©Lee Harrison The unclimbed Kuksar II, 6925m. ©Lee Harrison[/caption]

Having climbed your peak, what do you call it if it hasn’t already got a name? I have faced this problem a few times. While the locals may not name a small peak which has no importance to them, they will name a nearby feature which is important to them, usually a pasture or a settlement.

In this way, we named Falolingkish after the pasture of that name, Ghorhil Sar after the settlement of Ghorhil and the Haigutum peaks after the pasture called Haigutum. Although the Haigutum peaks were un-named, you can see from this picture that they are quite significant peaks.

[caption id="attachment_6138" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Haigutum East, Middle and West, from left to right. Haigutum East, Middle and West, from left to right.[/caption]

Back on the subject of our expedition, here is a picture of our second objective. This is to make the first ascent of the southeast couloir of Gutum Talji. The mountain is on the left of the picture and has been climbed before, not surprisingly by myself! Our route will be the long, straight couloir leading to the notch. Although the mountain is small at 5238m, the couloir is about 1000m long.

[caption id="attachment_6139" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Gutum Talji on the left. Gutum Talji on the left.[/caption]

We are leaving for Pakistan on 4th August, which is late in the season. The reason for this is that we plan to attempt Gutum Talji after Muchu Chhish in September when colder conditions will reduce the risk of rock fall in the couloir.

To finish up with, here is a picture of me on my last expedition to the Karakoram, way back in 2008!

[caption id="attachment_6140" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Pete Thompson Pete Thompson[/caption]

Pete Thompson The main objective of our expedition this summer is to make the first ascent of Muchu Chhish 7453m, which is located in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan. Lindsay Griffin writes on the BMC website “Muchu Chhish...according to some authorities is the highest unclimbed peak in the world (depending on prominence) for which it is possible to get a permit.”

Indeed, according to this list only Gangkhar Puensum in Bhutan is higher at 7570m, and mountaineering has been banned in Bhutan since 2003.

However some people might question whether Muchu Chhish is actually a separate summit rather than just a subsidiary top. A common definition of a mountain is a summit with 300m prominence. Prominence is the elevation difference between a summit and the highest point (col/saddle) that separates that summit from any higher summit.

Muchu Chhish has a prominence of only 273m. There is a col at 7180m below the summit, beyond which there is a higher summit, Batura V, 7531m. Beyond this is Batura I, 7793m, which is the highest mountain in the Batura Muztagh.

Nevertheless, Muchu Chhich is over two kilometres from Batura V and at least it does have its own name. It is also a very inaccessible summit. Our route up the south ridge is long, and from the col at 7180m it is still 1.1 kilometres to the summit.

As far as we are concerned, as we drag ourselves up the seemingly endless slopes of Muchu Chhish there will be no doubt in our minds that we are actually on a mountain!

[caption id="attachment_6134" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Our route follows the left side of the obvious ridge. At the top of the ridge, the summit of Muchu Chhish is off to the right in the clouds. Our route follows the left side of the obvious ridge. At the top of the ridge, the summit of Muchu Chhish is off to the right in the clouds.[/caption]

So why are mountains unclimbed? Some are technically difficult or, as is the case with Muchu Chhish, inaccessible. Others are in areas closed to mountaineering for political reasons. But most peaks are unclimbed because no one has ever bothered to climb them. In the Karakoram this is often due to their remoteness.

While there are very few unclimbed 7000m peaks left, there are numerous unclimbed 5000m and 6000m peaks in the Pakistani and Indian Karakoram, Nepal and Tibet. However, probably the greatest concentration of significant unclimbed 6000m peaks is in the Chinese Tien Shan mountains. In recent years another popular area for unclimbed peaks has been Kyrgystan.

Finding unclimbed peaks takes a bit of research. The Himalayan Index is a good starting point. This is a list of Karakoram and Himalayan peaks over 6000m on the Alpine Club’s website. It states whether the peak is unclimbed and previous ascents are recorded. One drawback is that peaks below 6000m are not included.

Expedition reports are a useful source of information if you have been able to identify a specific area. Most report writers are very happy to point out other unclimbed objectives in the area. Paper copies of UK expedition reports (Mount Everest Foundation (MEF) reports) are held at the Alpine Club library, the Al Rouse library in Sheffield and at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS). Online summaries of reports are available on the RGS Expedition Report Database and the MEF report database. Full MEF and BMC supported expedition reports from 2004 onwards can be found on the Expedition Reports database on the BMC website.

A good photograph of a mountain is often the starting point for an expedition. You can search the internet for these. For the Karakoram check out Lee Harrison’s excellent collection and my stuff.

Since my first expedition to the Karakoram 1988, climbing unclimbed peaks there has become a bit of a hobby of mine, having climbed eight of them, along with making alpine-style ascents of higher peaks. The first ascent of Falolingkish 6178m was probably the most difficult and memorable. I climbed solo up the right edge of the ice face at alpine TD. I don’t know what was more scary; going up without a ledge in sight for 800m or coming down the right-hand ridge.

[caption id="attachment_6135" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Falolingkish south face Falolingkish south face[/caption]

Another memorable climb was a solo attempt on the first ascent of Beka Brakai Chhok 6882m. This climb went well until I reached the start of the summit ridge at 6300m. I didn’t get far along the ridge and I think the picture is self explanatory. The mountain did get climbed a few years later by a different route.

[caption id="attachment_6136" align="aligncenter" width="397"]Beka Brakai Chhok northwest ridge Beka Brakai Chhok northwest ridge[/caption]

What about other unclimbed peaks in the Karakoram? Well here’s a nice one, although it does look a bit dangerous.

[caption id="attachment_6137" align="aligncenter" width="450"]The unclimbed Kuksar II, 6925m. ©Lee Harrison The unclimbed Kuksar II, 6925m. ©Lee Harrison[/caption]

Having climbed your peak, what do you call it if it hasn’t already got a name? I have faced this problem a few times. While the locals may not name a small peak which has no importance to them, they will name a nearby feature which is important to them, usually a pasture or a settlement.

In this way, we named Falolingkish after the pasture of that name, Ghorhil Sar after the settlement of Ghorhil and the Haigutum peaks after the pasture called Haigutum. Although the Haigutum peaks were un-named, you can see from this picture that they are quite significant peaks.

[caption id="attachment_6138" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Haigutum East, Middle and West, from left to right. Haigutum East, Middle and West, from left to right.[/caption]

Back on the subject of our expedition, here is a picture of our second objective. This is to make the first ascent of the southeast couloir of Gutum Talji. The mountain is on the left of the picture and has been climbed before, not surprisingly by myself! Our route will be the long, straight couloir leading to the notch. Although the mountain is small at 5238m, the couloir is about 1000m long.

[caption id="attachment_6139" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Gutum Talji on the left. Gutum Talji on the left.[/caption]

We are leaving for Pakistan on 4th August, which is late in the season. The reason for this is that we plan to attempt Gutum Talji after Muchu Chhish in September when colder conditions will reduce the risk of rock fall in the couloir.

To finish up with, here is a picture of me on my last expedition to the Karakoram, way back in 2008!

[caption id="attachment_6140" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Pete Thompson Pete Thompson[/caption]

Pete Thompson