Swiss Hindukush Expedition 1972 of the Academic Apine Club Zurich


Members: R. Boutellier, A. Frauenfelder, W. Giger (leader), A. Koelz, H. Koelz (M.D.), J. Reinhard, P. Rufe- nacht, H. Wetter.

WE first planned to go to Chitral with the aim of ascending Thui I or/and Thui II (AJ 75 179, 1970). Unfortunately because of the Bangla Desh conflict we could not get the permission of the Pakistan authorities and therefore selected instead the Ishmurgh valley in the Afghan Wakhan.

This valley was first explored by a Czech expedition in 1965 (OAZ 1351, 6) followed by a Scottish party in 1968 (AJ 74 210, 1969 and H. J. Vol. XXX, 1970). These two parties left Lunkho-i-kueheck and Kohe-Bakhera unclimbed, two peaks of over 6000 m. in altitude. We considered these two summits as the main goal of our expedition.

We left Zurich on 6 June and reached Kabul two weeks later by our two Ford-Transit. There permission to enter the Wakhan was waiting for us and we continued our journey in a hired lorry because the 'roads' were in a very poor condition this year. After having bargained for the porter's wages for nearly two days in Ishmurgh village, we reached our Base Camp on 8 July with the best 30 men of our very friendly porters. It was established at an altitude of 4530 m. just beside the Ishmurgh glacier. In order to get acclimated, we repeated the ascent of Kohe- Academia (5300 m.), Kohe-Anoshah (5550 m.), and Kohe-Spar- takiada (5200 m.). On 18 July, we had a huge snowfall of more than half a meter of fresh snow in the Base Camp.

We established an advanced base at 5250 m. just to the West of the Anoshah pass. From there we started to climb the Southern ridge of Kohe-Setara. This summit was first climbed by I. and H. Agresti from the Quala-i-Panja valley (AJ 74 213, 1969). The first part was an easy rock climb, while the rest consisted of a hard corniced snow ridge. After one bivouac at the end of the rock section, we succeeded in ascending the top of Kohe-Setara (0060 m.).

Photo Plates 25 and 26.

Our next object was Kohe-Bakhera, still unclimbed. We ascended the South-western face by a 1000 m. high couloir with an average slope of about 45 degrees. We started at midnight in the miraculous light of a full moon and reached the col between the two summits at eight in the morning. In the afternoon of the same day we attained the West summit (6240 m.) and bivouaced on the col. The day after we climbed the rocky East summit (6270 m.) and descended in a heavy snow-storm through the couloir.

We then established another advanced base at the foot of Lun- ko-iKucheck. The North-western flank to the col and the Western ridge to the top seemed to provide a reasonable route. We set up two further camps, one in the middle of the flank and a second on the watershed between Wakhan and Chitral. We did not succeed in our first attempt because the weather changed rapidly for the worst when we had reached an altitude of 6250 m and found ourselves in the most difficult part of the combined climbing. We descended all the way to the Base Camp and started a second attempt two days later. This time we were successful and on 11 August we reached the top of Lunkho-i- Kucheck (6430 m.), a magnificent mountain with a pyramid- like shape.

In the following week we repeated Ariana (6130m.) over its extraordinary 'Biancograt' and Kohe-Hevad (6849m.) both in alpine style with one and two bivouacs respectively.

During all our mountaineering, the weather was rather good, longer periods quite stable interrupted by pretty heavy snow- falls. We left Base Camp on 24 August and travelled back to Switzerland.

In the area of Ishmurgh valley all main summits are now climbed. However further attractive problems remain for very strong groups, especially a traverse of Kohe-Uparisina and an ascent of the East peak of Lunkho-i-Havar by its Northern buttress.


July 12th :  Kohe-Academia (5300 m., 2nd ascent) by R. B., W. G., H. K., J. R., P. R., H. W.
July 15/16th :  Kohe-Anoshah (5550 m., 2nd ascent) by all members.
July 17th :  Kohe-Spartakiada (5200 m., 2nd ascent, north- face) by H. K., J. R.
July 22nd :  Kohe-Setara (6060 m., 2nd ascent, 1st ascent of the south ridge) by R. B., W. G., A. F., H. K., J. R., P. R.
July 28/29th :  Kohe-Bakhera (West summit 6240 m., East summit 6270 m., 1st ascent) by R. B., A. F., A. F., W. G., H. K., J. R., P. R.
August 11th :  Lunkho-i-Kucheck (6430 m., 1st ascent) by R. B., W. G., H. K., J. R., P. R.
August 15th :  Ariana (6130 m., 2nd ascent) by R. B., W. G., H. K., P. R.
August 19th :  Kohe-FIevad (6849 m., 5th ascent) by R. B., W. G., H. K., J. R., P. R.


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