New Zealander makes first ascent

Friday 3 July 2009, 1:12PM

New Zealander Pat Deavoll has made the first ascent of Karim Sar (6180m) in the Batura region of northern Pakistan.

On 25 June, Pat soloed the final 1000m of the peak while her climbing partner Paul Hersey – who had been ill -- waited at their top camp at 5100m.

The climbers had been awarded a Hillary Expedition grant by SPARC to attempt the climb.

In a recent email from Islamabad, Pat said the pair arrived at the mountain on 10 June with the help of 20 porters, their cook Narseer and guide Baig.

After setting up base camp, they spent five days acclimatising on the Shitinbar Glacier to a height of 4600m and also assessed the best route to attempt the mountain.

Pat says that all the possible routes were technical and ``somewhat threatened by icefall’’.

They chose a route which led up a steep gully system to a wide cym and the summit ridge.

After acclimatising and deciding on the route, they returned to base camp where Paul came down with a mystery illness which kept him laid up for five days.

He decided he wouldn’t try the mountain but agreed to go part way up to support Pat in her summit attempt.
The pair climbed back up on to the Shitinbar Glacier and set up camp at about 4200m.

Paul said he would go about 400m up the route with Pat, but in fact climbed 1000m, spending the night in a yellow pack liner so he could support Pat on her summit attempt the next day.

Pat left at 5am for her summit bid and climbed up through a mixed gully system, then out into a wide cym ringed with ice cliffs. She moved left on to a ridge and ascended this to a rock buttress she thought she could by pass on the left. This proved too difficult so she back tracked and traversed under the buttress then up on to the summit ridge. She followed the ridge to the summit, arriving about 12pm.

Descending proved problematic and Pat had to do several abseils off v-threads and rock anchors in the upper section. She found traversing back under the rock buttress ``frightening as the snow had deteriorated’’.

Another three abseils were required to descend to the tent site.

The next day was spent getting back down the gully system to advanced base camp on the glacier, then to base camp.

The climbers were in Islamabad, set to return to New Zealand on 6 July.