THE Polish High Mountain Club (Klub Wysokogorski) carried out, in the sixties, four expeditions to Afghanistan. The fifth expedition was organized by the Academic Alpine Club of the Polytechnical Institute of Warsaw. All the expeditions were active in the High Hindu Kush (Hendukuse Beland) encompassing the Eastern Hindu Kush (Hendukuse Sarqi), the Kohe Paghman area, and also in the region of Salang in the Western Hindu Kush (Hendukuse Gharbi). In 1971, the Krakow Section and the Wroclaw Section of the Polish High Mountain Club organised an expedition to the Hindu Kush (VI Polska Wyprawa w Hindukusz 1971-VI PWH 1971) and to the Kobe Wakhan (I Polska Wyprawa w Kohe Wakhan 1971—1 PWKW 1971). The expedition consisted of the leader, Stanis- law Biel, 19 climbers, 2 doctors, 2 film operators from the "Czo- lowka" film producers company and 2 drivers. The equipment and 8 participants were driven to Afghanistan across Turkey and Iran in a Jelcz 315M truck. The remaining participants travelled through Moscow, Dusanbe, Termez, Mazare Sarif to Kabul. Difficulties in the organization were the cause of a late departure of the expedition (6 August, 1971).

  1. In the Western Hindu Kush
  2. In the Easern Hindu Kush
  3. In Kohe Wakhan (Pamir)
  4. Notes
  5. Description of sketch maps



I. In the Western Hindu Kush

During the period of 25-29 August, 1971, 18 climbers, with J. Wala as a leader, trained in an easily accessible region of the Salang tunnel and climbed 21 peaks of an altitude of about 1000-4700 m.

The region of the Salang tunnel is situated in the central part of a mountain crest, 170 km long, rising between the Kotale Khawak (3550 m.) and Kotale Sebar (2970 or 2987 m.) passes. This crest forms a link between the compact high mountain area of Central Asia and the desert area of mountains in the central part of Afghanistan, partitioned and deprived of alpine featuures.


Photo Plates 13-20; Panoramas 2-6.

The region of Salang possess a high mountain aspect: erosional landforms of Pleistocene mountain glaciation, cirques filled with scree, picturesque lakes, small hanging glaciers and nieves penitentes. The rocks are mostly granites, metamorphic, gneiss, crystalline schists and also calcareous ones. Vegetation is scarce in the zone of alpine meadows, above 3000 m.; a high mountain aspect with a steppe character. Deciduous forests grow on the northern slope in the Darrahe Khenjan valley. Shepherds and nomads with herds of sheep and camels frequent the valleys.

The surroundings of the tunnel are a good rock climbing area; walls several hundred metres high, precipitous towers and exposed ridges. However, the rocks are often friable. Interesting possibilities can be recommended: the north face of S12, west face of S16, both about 400 m. high, Kohe Hafttanor north face, several spurs and walls in groups lying to the N. and N.E. of S27, S7 and S32 faces.

A more direct and easy approach could, in the future, transform this area into a terrain of mountain climbing, tourism and skiing.

Not much is known about climbing and touristic exploration. Z. Wrzesniowski, a Pole, visited the Khenj an Valley in 1960. I. Galfy and M. Jaskovski, members of the Czechoslovak Expedition, climbed 6 mountains in 1965. In the same year participants of the Grotzbach Scientific Expedition climbed 2 peaks. In both cases, the situation of the peaks was not stated. Polish alpinists came here for the first time in 1966. A. Pachalski was the leader of the group. On 1 August A. Heinrich, J. Poreba, L. Sadus and R. Zawadzki climbed the S3 peak, and on 2 and 3 August (Heinrich and Poreba) climbed peak S3—they and the remaining climbers climbed Sll, S8 and S6 peaks. On 2 August, R. Rodzinski and J. Wojtusiak accomplished the ascent of a pass at an altitude of 3988 m., and then that of S3 and S2. At the same time A. Mroz1 climbed the S7, S10 and S12 peaks and, after a bivouac on S11 he passed through a ridge (diffic. IV) onto S13 and S14.

In 1971, our expedition was also active in the neighbourhood of Darrahe Khenjan (see sketch map). The peaks were marked with the letter S and a consecutive number, in connection with the report of IV PWH 1966. Ascents: S1 from the W., 26 August—T. Barbacki, H. Cioncka and J. Wala; S2 from the N., 26 August-J. Wala (I) : S15 from the W.-28 August-J. Chmielewski and Z. Stepek (II—III); S16 from the W. and SW ridge (I), 1 h. from the cirque, descent to the NE ridge (I, at one place III), 0.6 h. on 29 August—K. Glazek, J. Wala and J. Wojnarowicz; S17 from the W and ascent of the NW ridge of S18, descent to the S ridge, on 27 August, H. Cioncka and J. Wala (I, II); S19 from the NE, 26 August-j. Chmielewski, A Sidorowicz and Z. Stepek; 820 through the N ridge, 3.5 h. from the gap in the ridge 1.5 h. (IV, at one place V)—descent on the N ridge 1 h. (II), 26 August-S. Aniol, K. Glazek, K. Piotrowski; S21 through the N ridge 45 min. (IV, at one place V), descent through the N ridge, 30 min. (IV), 26 August—K. Glazek, at the same time B. Aniol and K. Piotrowski by traverse (II, at one place IV) ; S22 through the N. ridge easily, descent through the N. ridge (one pitch III), 26 August—S. Aniol, K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski; S23 from the E upwards (III), 45 min., descent through the N ridge (I), 15 min., 26 August- K. Glazek; S24 through the NW ridge 30 min. (Ill), 27 August K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski; S25 through the NW ridge (III with pitches of IV), 45 min. descent through the NW slope (II), 30 min., 27 August—K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski; S27 through the N ridge (one pitch of III), easy descent through the W slope 40 min., 27 August—K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski, S28 through the N ridge (II), 20 min., 27 August-K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski also J. Ferenski, M. Kowalczyk, P. Jasinski and R. Zawadzki, 27 August; S29 from the east 90 min., (I) , 27 August-K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski, also J. Ferenski, M. Kowalczyk, P. Jasinski and R. Zawadzki, 27 August; S30 from the east 27 August—J. Chmielewski and A. Sidorowicz, S31 by traverse from east to west, 26 August—J. Ferenski, P. Jasinski, M. Kowalczyk and R. Zawadzki, also from the north and north west through ridge (III) ,26 August—M. Kata, Z. Ryn, S. Worwa and A. Janota; S32 by traverse through the ridge, (II-IV), 26 August—J. Ferenski and P. Jasinski; S6 through the eastern ridge, descent through the N. ridge onto the pass, 27 August— A. Janota, M. Kata, Z. Ryn and S. Worwa; S33 from the southeast (III, two pitches of IV), from the pass between S6 and S8, return to the pass, 28 August—A. Janota, M. Kata, Z. Ryn.



⇑ Top


2. In the Easern Hindu Kush

In the Eastern Hindu Kush the expedition was divided into two mountain groups: the High Hindu Kush (Hendukuse Be- land) and the Zebak Mountains (Kohe Zebak) group.

The High Hindu Kush consists of a rib arcuately curved towards the NW with a transversal dissection and valleys, mostly on the NW side, perpendicular to the main ridge, disposed irregularly on the SW side. On the NW and N the High Hindu Kush is limited by the elongated valley of the river Darya-i Panj and Wakhan Darya, on the SE by the elongated valley of the river Konar—Mastuj—Yarkhun, by its tributary Rich Gol and behind the Shah Jilani An (4259 m.), again by the Yarkhun. Its western border is formed by Arkari Gol, the Sad Ishtragh An (5167 m.) and the Darrahe Qadzi Deh pass; the eastern border—by a broad depression of the Baroghil An (3804 m.). Orographic and hypometric criteria and landscape features were chosen as the basis of such a division of the mountain group. All the summits measuring 7000 m. and above are situated in this terrain, as well as the greatest glaciers, with the exception of the longest one, the Chiantar glacier (35 km.) which descends from the Hindu Raj mountains.

The High Hindu Kush surpasses all the remaining mountain groups by its singularly high main ridge (mean height c. 6100 m.) and its passes which do not descend lower than 5000 m, with the exception of Khan Khun An (4968 m.) near the eastern extremity. The length of the ridge is 290 km., its area is 7120 km.2; 38 of its summits transgress 7000 m., and 130 peaks —6000 m. It lias 82 separate peaks, each of them 6000 m high, out of which 28 are above 6500 m. The High Hindu Kush possesses a considerable glaciation and large quantities of snow (ab. 2900 km.2) and abundant glacial forms, from typical hanging glaciers to enormous composite valley glaciers. The climate is characteristic of the highest mountains, landforms of great dimensions and relative heights. Walls attain 3000 m. in height and mountains range maximally to 6000 m. above the bottom of the elongated valleys surrounding them. The valleys are narrow as a rule, deeply incised, broadening only towards the top, in the zone of alpine meadows and perpetual snow.

The area of activities of Polish expeditions comprised the north-western part of the rib. It was only V PWH 1968 and VI PWH 1971 which passed much further on, towards the east, into a lower part of the rib (where not many massifs and peaks transcend 6000m.) and where the landscape is typical for a high mountain area and the glaciation is considerable.

Kohe Zebak is situated to the west of the High Hindu Kush. This mountain group is composed of an arcuately curved rib about 60 km. long. The highest peaks are grouped in the sector from the higher level of the Futur Valley up to the Qalat glacier.

Long lateral ridges descend to the NW from the main ridge and are divided by two centrally disposed valleys, the Darrahe Khaspak and the Darrahe Red Khwa. The first descends gently towards its outlet in the Khaspek region, while the second, leading under the N face Ratkut Zom, is deeply and sharply incised.

The scenery of the great circ of the Syorpalas glacier, surrounded by what seem to be entirely inaccessible summits and sectioned by sharp, rugged lateral ridges can be considered as being one of the finest in the Hindu Kush Mountains.

The following problems are very interesting: ascension of Kohe Sakht (57) from Wakhan Goi in the first place, of Qalat (75) and the remarkable peak 92, of difficult access, above the Qalat Valley—further, towards the SW, the massif of Ratkut Zom with two peaks (5647 m.). These mountains can also become the domain of rock climbers. They constitute a very charming mountain area.

Kohe Zebak, with a surface of 955 km.2 is limited from the N by the route Zebak—Eskasem—Qadzi Deh, from the S—by the Deh Gol valley and the Mandro Gol. It is separated from other parts of the Hindu Kush by the passes Sad Ishtragh An (5167 m.) and Khatinza An (4880 m.).

Sad Ishtragh (5859 m.) considered until 1971 as the highest peak of the whole mountain group, was climbed by members of the IV PWH 1966: J. Bourgeois (a Belgian), M. Kozlowski and J. Potocki, from the NE ridge (IV) , on 17 August, 1966. At the same time two French climbers, J. and H. Agresti, also belonging to the IV PWH 1966, ascended the Kurobakho Zom (c. 5400 m.) on 17 August, 196$.

Two Germans, V. and H. Steiner, climbed at an earlier period, in 1964, the Kohe Barfi (5463 m.) from the W (Dl, Schneegipfel, see Tagebuch der H.—Kundfahrt 1964 S. Bremen e.V. pp.200, 210, 329) situated on the ridge from Sad Ishtragh to the Khatinza An (4880 m.) .

The interest we took in this unknown and practically unexplored mountain group arose at an earlier date. It is the last of the Hindu Kush concentration of peaks which is hardly known. About 60 per cent, of its surface, owing to a specific border situation, is not marked on large scale maps, although it is a stretch of land more than 10 km. wide, contiguous on the N side to the main ridge of the High Hindu Kush.

The expedition reaches the High Hindu Kush on 4 September, driving from Barak in a hired local motor-car. The activities are taken over by two groups, the Wroclaw and the Krakow one.

1.1. Wroclaw group: S. Aniol, T. Barbacki (driver, carrying out experimental trials on the car), R. Bebak, M. Bogucki (doctor), J. Ferenski, K. Glazek, K. Piotrowski, A. Sidorowicz and J. Wojnarowicz (leader) . Its activity is concentrated around the Darrahe Qadzi Deh.

On 6 September, 1971 they set up their Base Camp in a traditional place, at an altitude of 4030 m.

A preliminary period is devoted to acclimatization in the Kohe Zebak mountain group. In the neighbourhood of the lateral valley Darrahe Khali (Empty Valley), they climb a Peak c. 5000 m. high (No. 53) through the N rib, 1. 5 h. (II), on 9 September—K. Glazek; Kotale Kucek (c. 5000 m.) from the S ridge, (I), 1.5 h. 10 September—K. Glazek, K. Piotrowski and A. Sidorowicz; Kohe Rizes (Scree Peak, c. 5400 m., No. 21) from the S (II-III) , on 9 September—R. Bebak and J. Ferenski; Kohe Syah (5086 m., No. 23) from the SW. (I), 9 September—S. Aniol and J. Wojnarowicz. Unfortunately, snow was falling incessantly from 10-12 September and the temperature was very low. The participants then direct themselves towards the summits of the High Hindu Kush setting up an advance base at an altitude of c. 4800 m. on the Qadzi Deh glacier.

The Wroclaw Group however renounces the climb to Noshaq, for time is short and the risk far too great in the actual conditions. From here they ascend: the Kotale Junubi (c. 5900 m.) from the W, on 16 September-S. Anoil, J. Ferenski and J. Wojnarowicz; Aspe Safed (6607 m. W.77) through the N ridge, glaciated route, 17 September—J. Ferenski; Aspe Syah (Black Horse c. 6250 m., W.95) by the NE ridge (IV-V+), 1st ascent, relative height 1200 m., 14-17 September—K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski; Aspe Syah, although an inconspicuous peak owing to the close vincinity of the Noshaq nassif (Naw Sakh 7485 m. after the map of AIC 1 : 1300000), possesses a marked route distinguished from all the big Polish climbs in the High Hindu Kush by the greatest number of difficult places.

On 18 September snow begins to fall. After waiting for three days the group withdraws the advance base and returns again to the Zebak Mountains. Only J. Ferenski and R. Bebak ascend on 22 and 23 September, an unclimbed Tower of c. 5500 m. above the Yakhcale Safed glacier, NW ridge of the peak 5841 (W. 124). From the S onto the ridge and further to the summit (III-IV), on 25 September, K. Piotrowski climbs upto the Kotale Barani Irom the E.

In Kohe Zebak, K. Glazek and A. Sidorowicz climb at the same time, the Haram (Pyramid of c. 5100 m. No. 54) surrounded by the Wakhan Gol and Darrahe Tufanha (Valley of Storms) ihrough the S couloir, 4 h. from Wakhan Gol, 22 September; Tighane Zebak, two towers—Yunubi and Samali (the higher one c. 5350 m, No. 56) from the E. on the pass, traverse by i he ridge, (V. several metres of V-f- and VI), 18 h. from the glacier, descent onto the most deeply incised pass between Kohe Sakht and Diware Kalan, (III-IV) , 100 m. downhill slide, from there on ice through the couloir, partly sliding and back on to i he glacier, 23-24 September. Haram, a tridentate pyramid, is situated on a lateral ridge directed eastward and starting from I he Great Wall—Diware Kalan. It limits from the right side a glaciated circ which has been named the Valley of Storms (Darrahe Tufanha) . Above it, in a depression of the ridge, two lowers rise between Kohe Sakht and Diware Kalan, two of which, to the left of the deepest pass, have been named the Zebak Needles—Tighane Zebak.

Winter drives the members of the Wroclaw group out of the Noshaq region. They move on 26 and 27 September and pitch a camp at an altitude of 3580 m. near an overflowing torrent, from here they once more attack two outstanding peaks on the main ridge of Kohe Zebak.

On 28 September five participants begin a long approach on a steep ledge and further, onto the highest level of the Sunny Valley (Darrahe Aftab) where they pitch their tent on 30 September. To the right, above the camp, at about 1000 m. rises a dome-shaped massif of yellow granite, Kohe Zard—the Yellow Peak (5810 m.) and slightly lower near the valley, to the left, the beautiful outline of the Great Horn—Sakhe Kalan (c. 5880 m.). Measurement with an aneroid and direct observation indicate that it is probably the highest summit of the Kohe Zebak.

Here they carry out two climbs: on the Sakhe Kalan (the Great Horn, c. 5880 m., No. 19) from the N (Gumbaze Yakhi) and NE, route glaciated, two rocky sectors on the ridge, 8 hours, glaciation. (Ill IV, at one place IV-V), 1 October—K. Glazek and K. Piotrowski; and on Kohe Zard (the Yellow Peak c. 5810 m, according to the aneroid, No. 16) from the SW couloir, (III), partly on the glacier and rocks, 1 October—J. Ferenski, R. Bebak and A. Sidorowicz.

On 3 October they disband their base and descend to Qadzi Deh where they meet the Krakow group and leave for Kabul.

1.2. The Krakow group is active in the region of the Esan and Sast Valleys until 30 September, 1971, and then it repairs to Kohe Zebak.

The period from 7-10 September is devoted to becoming acquainted with the terrain. S. Biel, S. Worwa and R. Zawad- zki reach the settlement of Baba Tangi, climbing to a height of about 4000 m. on the rib above the Kezget village. At the same time A. Janota, M. Kata and A. Tokarski penetrate into the Sast Valley—P. Jasinski, M. Kowalczyk and J. Wala into the Esan Valley and A. Cioncka, J. Chmieleswki and Z. Stepek into the lateral Esan Cap Valley upto an altitude of 5200 in. Z. Ryn and A. Skoczylas visit the lower parts of the Qala—i Pan] Valley. A preliminary survey is carried out in a region of about 40 km. and two first ascents are undertaken on this occasion:

Darrahe Esan: Kohe Laskhor, (5232 m., W. 420) through the NE ridge (II-I1I, one pitch of IV) 8 hours, 8 September—P. Jasinski and M. Kowalczyk, J. Wala near the lower summit.

Darrahe Sast: Myana Koh (5174 m, W. 444), from the W (I-II), 9 September—A. Janota and A. Tokarski.

Later a part of the group goes to Kohe Wakhan and those that remain: H. Cioncka, A. Janota, P. Jasinski, M. Kowalczyk, Z. Ryn (doctor), Z. Stepek from Lublin, P. Taraszkiewicz (driver of the Jelcz 315M car), J. Wala, S. Worwa and R. Zawad- zki (leader of the sub-group) set up a base, on 14 September, 1971, in Darrahe Sast, on a moraine, at an altitude of 4000 m.

In the Esan Valley, a lateral valley cut parallelly into the principal one, descends by a steep sill over which flows a stream of pure water, to the main valley. It is filled, above an altitude of 4100 m., by the Yakhcale Esane Cap glacier, covered by

Numerous and fine penitents and leading to a peak, unclimbed as yet, and bearing no name, 6007 m. high. The valley is surrounded by rocky towers. Triangular walls of a thousand metres from the summit (5606 m.) deserve attention. Access to the 6007 m. peak is through the right (orographically) branch of the glacier.

The main Esan Valley forms in its upper part an enormous cric filled with fan-shaped branches of the Yakhcale Esane Rast glacier. The circ is limited from the SW by a splendid strongly glaciated wall of rock, culminating in the Rahozon Zom massif with two peaks (N. 6502 m. and S. 6535 m.) divided by a broad saddle. They were climbed from the south by a married couple R. and H. Lindner, in 1969. The eastern wall, from the side of Ecan, is 1800 m. high and is limited to the right by a rib, forming a first-class sporting objective.

In the middle of the circ, surrounded by the branches of the glacier and a 1000 m. above it stands a solitary trapezoidal peak 5238 m. high, the only one in this valley to be climbed by the VI PWH 1971 and named the Vulture Peak—Kohe Laskhor. Behind it, on the main ridge, is situated the Kohe Syah Safed also climbed from the S by R. and H. Lindner, in 1969.

The Kohanlia massif, on the eastern side, contrasts entirely with Rahozon Zom. Its western peak, Kohane Gharbi (6309 m.) has an ice wall 1300 m. high.

The valley is surrounded on the NE side by a group of rocky peaks (glaciated only from the N side) among which a shapely slim pyramid of 5815 m. is distinguished.

The next valley to the east (Darrahe Sast) is divided in its upper part into two branches filled entirely with glaciers. The deeper left branch leads to the northern extensive wall of the Kohanha massif (6309 m.) inaccessible owing to descending avalanches and seracs.

The Kohanha massif seen from the Sast Valley resembles a two humped camel, hence its name. The previous one, given by the expedition of C. Pinelli to the Kohe Baba Tangi (Kohe Qala-i Ust) was not in accordance with the generally recognized rule the highest summit should bear the name of the valley or that of the village situated at its outlet.2 The village of Qala-i Ust lies at the outlet of the next valley.


  1. The name Kohe Sast belongs to the peak above the village of Sast Bala on the other side of the river Wakhan Darya.


There is still another prominent peak above the Saste Rast glacier, the Kohe Yakhi (5975 m.) completely covered by an ice mantle.

The Darrahe Qala-i Ust valley, situated towards the east, is surrounded by peaks only about five thousand metres high. Owing to the geological structure an extensive terrace was formed in the upper part of the valley, at an altitude of about 4800 m„ sectioned by a nunatak accumulating considerable masses of snow.

The damp air flowing in from the south by the Konar and Rich Gol valleys and limited on the left by high massifs in the sector of Tirich Mir to Lunkho, reaches the northern side through a relatively low ridge, and by cooling down during its passage over the snow-covered and glaciated terraces, produces considerable snowfall. While on the glacier of Qadzi Deh the border of the firn is situated at an altitude of 5000 m., it appears here at 4600 m. When in Sast Bala (2800 m.) the temperature in the daytime fluctuates from -f-16° to 20°C, the variation on the Saste Rast glacier, at a height of 4900 to 5100 m. is of the order of —15 to —20°C.

In the Sast Valley, the main aim was an attempt to climb the eastern peak of the Kohanha massif—the Kohane Sarqi (c. 6300 m.).

A route from the east was chosen, through the highly raised and flat Saste Rast glacier, descending steeply to the main bed of the valley and nearly completely deprived of surface moraines.

From the very beginning, the snowfall in the higher parts of the mountains and, from 17 September, extremely bad weather rendered all action difficult. Finally, two camps were set up on the glacier: I (4960 m.) and II (5170 m.) . At that time Z. Ryn and R. Zawadzki try to climb the Peak 5740 m. (W. 424) from the NE up to a height of about 5400 m., on 15 September. Two more peaks are climbed: the Sakhe Sangi (Rocky Horn 5273 m., W. 449) through the SW rock ridge, (II), 4 hours, from Camp I, on 8 September—H. Cioncka, Z. Ryn, Z. Stepek, and J. Wala; and Sakhe Kucek (Little Horn, 5408 m., W. 448) from the NW, route snow-bound, 4 hours from Camp I, on 18 September—P. Jasinski, M. Kowalczyk, A. Janota, S. Worwa, R. Zawadzki.

From Camp II P. Jasinski and M. Kowalczyk try to climb, over an ice pillar, the Kohe Yakhi (Ice Peak, 5975 m., W. 446) on 24 and 25 September. Owing to bad weather conditions they give it up and descend by means of sliding down, after a bivouac at an altitude of 5500 m.

(Photo: J .Wala) Panorama 4: View from Sokhe Sangi (449, 5273 m.) towards Kohe Yakhi (446, 5975 m.) and the Kohana Massif. 448=Sakhe Kucek (5,408 m.) . 421.1= Kohane Gharbi (6,309 m.). 421.2= Kohane Sarqi (c. 6,300 m.). 421.3= Makhrute Safed (c.5,850 m.) with route taken by H. Cincka, Z .Ryn, J. Wala and R. Zawadzki-26.9.71. A= Point reached by R. Zawadzki and Z. Ryn-27.9.71.

Photo: J .Wala

Panorama 4: View from Sokhe Sangi (449, 5273 m.) towards Kohe Yakhi (446, 5975 m.) and the Kohana Massif. 448=Sakhe Kucek (5,408 m.) . 421.1= Kohane Gharbi (6,309 m.). 421.2= Kohane Sarqi (c. 6,300 m.). 421.3= Makhrute Safed (c.5,850 m.) with route taken by H. Cincka, Z .Ryn, J. Wala and R. Zawadzki-26.9.71. A= Point reached by R. Zawadzki and Z. Ryn-27.9.71.

(Photo: S. Zierhoffer 1960) Panorama5: Panoramic view of the Kohe Zebak range seen from Rakhe Daroz (HB 85,c. 5690 m.)

Photo: S. Zierhoffer 1960

Panorama5: Panoramic view of the Kohe Zebak range seen from Rakhe Daroz (HB 85,c. 5690 m.)

Photo: Z. Ryn

Panorama 6: View looking South east from Kohe Sangi (30, C.5,600 m.) On 46 showing route of P. Jasinki and M. Kowalczyk-10.10.71

Panorama 6: View looking South east from Kohe Sangi (30, C.5,600 m.) On 46 showing route of P. Jasinki and M. Kowalczyk-10.10.71

An attempt on Kohane Sarqi (c. 6300 m.) is made over the summit of Makhrute Safed, situated on the north-eastern ridge.

23-24 September, A. Janota, Z. Stepek and S. Worwa try to set up Camp III. On 25 September, H. Cioncka, Z. Ryn, j. Wala and R. Zawadski set up Camp III at c. 5660 m. and, on 26 September, they climb in 4 hours the peak Makhrute Safed (White Cone, c. 5850 m.) through a partially rocky route, covered with deep snow (III).

Availing themselves of a change for the better in the weather Z. Ryn and R. Zawadzki climb for a second time, advancing further for 300 m. on a glaciated ridge in the direction of Kohane Sarqi. This attempt breaks down owing to very deep snow among penitents, seracs and crevasses.

Lack of fuel and continuous bad weather conditions cause a cessation of all activities on 26 September. The camps are disbanded and all members descend to Sast Bala. In the meantime, S. Biel, and R. Farat join the team.

The decision is taken to move to the mountain group of Kohe Zebak situated lower but better endowed from the climate point of view and very attractive for exploration. On 3 October the group starts for Qadzi Deh in a hired car and thence, on 4 October, to the village of Khaspak. Considerable difficulties for organizing a caravan take up two days time. Finally, on 6 October, the horse caravan starts. On 7 October, after a ride of 9 hours, a base is set up at an altitude of 3750 m. near an overflowing stream in the Syorpalas Valley, which forms together with the valleys of Qalat and Kasdarra the uppermost portion of the main Khaspak Valley. From here, ascents in the eastern part of the Darrahe Syorpalas were carriedtout during 8 to 11 October: Kohe Copan (Shepherd's Peak) from the W. (II-III) 8 October—S. Biel and S. Worwa; Kotale Barfi (Snow Pass c. 5500 m.) from a bivouac at 4900 m., through an ice couloir and hence onto a second tower of the N ridge (III-IV), P. Jasinski, A Janota, M. Kowalczyk and J. Wala—over a rocky buttress, and further, through an ice wall to the North peak of Diware kalan (Great Wall, No. 46, c. 5840 m.) at 1800h, 13h, descent during the night to the bivouac, 4 rappels on the ridge, 10 October, 5 h.—P. Jasinski and M. Kowalczyk; Kohe Januari (Moufflon Peak c. 5250 m. No. 27) over the W ridge from the pass (I, one pitch of III) 4 hours from the bivouac (c. 4500 m.) on 9 October—R. Farst, Z. Stepek, Z. Ryn and R. Zawadzki; Kohe Dandan (Dentated Peak, c. 5150 m. No.28) N ridge from the pass, (III-IV), 1 hour, 9 October—Z. Ryn and Z. Stepak; Kohe Sangi (Rocky Peak c. 5600 m. aner. 5540 m. No. 30) on the SW ridge from the pass (III-IV) 4 hours from the bivouac 10 October—Z. Ryn. Z. Stepek and R. Zawadzki; Cangale Syah (Black Pitchfork 5156 m.) from the S on the W ridge, (II), 4 h. from the bivouac in Darrahe Sangane Syah, 11 October—S. Biel, H. Cioncka and S. Worwa.

Among those already mentioned, technical difficulties characterize the ascent on Diware Kalan carried out in the course of a single day from a bivouac set up at an altitude of 4900 m., among wonderfully beautiful although threatening scenery, just beside a colony of glacier tables surrounded overhead by the rust coloured, vertical southern wall, nearly 800 m. high, of Gumbaze Yakhi and Sakhe Kalan.

The ascent of the Cangale Syah carried out from 12 to 16 October and the exploration of the Qalat Valley should provide topographic material for the elaboration of an orographic sketch of the Kohe Zebak mountain group. The following ascents were executed then; Darrahe Qalat: Peak c. 5000 m. high, No. 102, from the E, (II), 14 October—P. Jasinski and M. Kowalczyk; Peak 4810 m. by aneroid, No. 107, from the N ice face, onto the pass and W ridge, (II), 14 October—A. Janota, S. Worwa and Z. Stepek; rounded mountain top c. 4450 m. from the S, 14 October—A. Janota, S. Worwa and Z. Stepek.

Darrahe Kasdarra: Peak 4850 m. No. 119, N.E. rib through scree (visited by shepherds) and further on the ridge, (I), on Tighe 1 in the Rakhe Parepare ridge No. 118, c. 4950 m., ascent on the tower (II), 15 October—H. Ciovicka and J. Wala.

Nothing seemed to forecast, even on 3 October, in Qadzi Deh, that from the following day until the end of the expedition the weather would be nearly cloudless and without wind. Owing to the dryness of the air a frost of more than ten degrees was not felt, even in the shade. Temperature fell to less than —20°C during the night, in a bivouac at 4900 m.



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3. In Kohe Wakhan (Pamir)

A group composed of S. Biel (leader), J. Chmielewski from Lublin, M. Kata, A. Tokarski (leader of the group after the departure of S. Biel), A. Skoczylas and R. Farat (film operator) proceeded to the Issik Valley in Kohe Wakhan where, after setting up a base at 4000 m., started its activities from 17-30 September in lateral branches of this valley which had yet been explored by its predecessors. Weather conditions here were similar to these in the High Hindu Kush on the opposite side of the river Wakhan Darya.

Kohe Wakhan forms a mountain range 160 km. long. Its highest and most glaciated part lies between 73°00' and 73°30' E. and is situated entirely in the territory of Afghanistan. The remaining part, along which runs the Afghan—USSR border, is much lower (the highest summit, Pik Sosjeri, is 5679 m. high) and deprived of glaciation. This is distinctly connected with the climate of the Eastern Pamir.

Alpinism started here in 1971. The first were the Japanese from Hiroshima who climbed a 6020 m. peak situated on the northern ridge of the highest summit.

The Italians (led by Carlo A. Pinelli) attained the three highest peaks of these mountains and gave them the names of Kohe Pamir3, Kohe Marco Polo and Kohe Hillal.


  1. This name is unsuitable.


The activities of our group were the following: Peak 6110 m. high, attempt at climbing through the N ridge; the Kotale Syah (Black Pass, 5440 m.) was climbed on 22 September by M. Kata and A. Tokarski; Peak 5040 m. from the S and W ridge, 24 September—J. Chmielewski; Peak 5112 m. ridge 24 Semptember J. Chmielewski (ridge I-III); Peak 5464 m. from the S.W. through the couloir (ITI) 25 September—J. Chmielewski; Kohe Zemestan (Winter Peak, eastern summit 6080 m.) from the N, from the Barabar glacier, through the E. ridge, bivouac at 5900 m., glaciated route, rocky sectors in high part, (IV, two pitches of V), 29-30 September—J. Chmielewski, M. Kata, A. Skoczylas and A. Tokarski. A snowy ridge of over twenty meters connecing the two peaks was much too risky, owing to the danger of avalanches. They gave up and descended by the same route.

This was the last of the activities, as fuel and food were running out. On the following day, 1 October, they disband first the camp and then the base and descend to the settlement of Issik: arriving at Khaspak on 10 October.

On 16 October the Krakow group leaves the mountains and drives in a hired car to Barak. They are awaited there by P. Taraszkiewicz and T. Barbacki and the car of the expedition. The return to Poland by the same route.



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4. Notes

Abe Panj or Darya-i Panj. The natives also apply this name to the upper tributary, called Wakhan Darya on maps—but this name is unknown to the inhabitants of the valley of this river.

In Wakhan the local inhabitants use the words "Dargaw" for indicating a "valley" and their name for a "glacier" is "Piryakh". However, in reports and on sketches the words "Darrah" and "Yakhcal" are used and they appear at present on official afgha- nistan maps.

The orthography of names formed during the expedition is adapted as far as possible to the transcription obligatory on Afghan maps, and based on the bulletin: "Transliteration System for Geographical Names in Afghanistan", published in 1962 by the Ministry of Mining and Industry. For Pakistan, the orthography as used in maps of the Survey of India continues to be employed.



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5. Description of sketch maps



Region of Salang in the Western Hindu Kush

Determination of peaks SI to S14 is related to the activities of IV PWH 1966-SI, S2, S6, S15 to S33 to VI PWH 1971.

Comment: 1—peaks and ridges; 2—passes; 3—lakes and torrents, 4—tunnels; 5—highway and paths; 6—seasonal shepherd settlements "aylak" (A) and meteorological stations (M) ; 7—bivouacs and base camp; 8—summits climbed by members of the Polish expedition, routes of the VI PWH 1971; 9—routes of the IV PWH 1966.




Region of the Esan, Sast and Qala-i Ust valleys in the mountain group of the High Hindu Kush in the Eastern Hindu Kush.

Comment: 1—peaks that were climbed; 2—peaks and ridges; 3—peaks of second rank, passes and saddles; 4—glaciers; 5—torrents; 6—settlements, ruins, seasonal shepherd settlements (A); 7—camps and bivouacs; 8—paths and caravan routes; 9—numeration of peaks on the sketched map of the High Hindu Kush, elaborated by J. Wala, in the manner admitted in alpinistic periodicals; 9—routes of the VI PWH 1971; 11—routes of the married couple R. and H. Lendner in 1969; peaks 400, 401, 597 and 574 climbed by the married couple H. and J. Agresti in 1968.

KG—Kohane Gharbi; KS—Kohane Sarqi; Area to the N from the axis line on the basis of ACI-Kabu! map 1 : 100000 sheet 319B, to the S on the basis of sketches by G. Gruber, R. Lindner, of photographs taken by members of the VI PWH 1971 and immediate observations in the terrain —elaborated by J. Wala. The range of glaciers in the Esan Valley has been corrected in relation to the map 1 : 100000.




North-eastern part of the mountain group Kohe Zebak in the Eastern Hindu Kush

Comment: 1—route of V. and H. Steiner, August, 20, 1964 (D1 —Schneegipfel); 2—route of the IV PWH 1966, see "Taternik" T.2/67; 3—routes of the Wroclaw group VI PWH 1971; 4— routes of the Krakow group VI PWH 1971; 5—climbed peaks and base camps (B); 6—peaks, ridges, passes; 7—glaciers; 8— settlements, seasonal shepherd settlements (A) and places of worships; 9—road and paths; 10— ridges within the area of the High Hindu Kush; Ye-Yakhcal/e.

Area to the N of the axis line, based on the ACI-Kabul map 1961, 1 : 100000; to the S, after the map S. of India 1931,


1 : 126720 sheet No. 37 — and; in the centre on the basis of


sketches and angular bearings of S.Biel, of photographs and observations in the terrain carried out by members of the expedition and himself, elaborated by J. Wala.

Height in metres: 16-5810 m. by aneroid, 5742 m.; 20-c. 5880 m.; 27-5250 m. by aneroid; 28-5150 m; 30-5640 m.; 5500 m. by aneroid; 46-c. 5850 m. (the name Diwara Kalan was given by G. Virt in 1970); 57-5780 m.; 92-c. 5650 m.; 97-c. 5500 m.; 100-c. 5600 m.; 109-c. 5450 m.; Kotala Barfi-c. 5500 m.




Surroimdings of the Issik Valley, the highest region of Kohe Wakhan in the Pamir.

Comment: 1—peaks that were climbed; 2—unclimbed summits; 3—peaks of second rank, passes, saddles; 4—glaciers; 5—torrents; 6__settlements, ruins; 7__ camps and bivouacs; 8__routes of the Krakow group (I PWH 1971) ;B—base; P—Poles; I—Italians; J—Japanese.

Map elaborated on the basis of 1 : 100000 ACI-Kabul map, 1962, sheet 314E; camps and routes after A. Tokarski.

Names of glaciers derive from the names of valleys and torrents with the exception of Yakhcale Barabar and Yakhcale Hiroshima. The name of Kohe Pamir, being unsuitable, was replaced by that of Kohe Belandtarin, as elaborated by J. Wala.


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