Baintha Brakk: The Astonishing Peak of Pakistan

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Baintha Brakk: The Astonishing Peak of Pakistan

Baintha Brakk or The Ogre is a steep, craggy mountain, 7,285 meters (23,901 feet) high, in the Panmah Muztagh, a subrange of the Karakoram mountain range. It is situated in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. It is popular for being one of the hardest peaks in the world to climb: 24 years elapsed between the first ascent in 1977 and the second in the year of 2001.

Location of Baintha Brakk

Baintha Brakk rises above the north side of the Biafo Glacier, one of the huge glaciers of the central Karakoram. It lies about 75 kilometers (47 mi) north of Skardu, the major town of the region, and about 30 kilometers (19 mi) north of the roadhead at Askole.

Eminent features

Baintha Brakk is remarkable in its combination of altitude, height above local terrain, and steepness. It is a complex granite tower, steeper and rockier than most other Karakoram peaks. (The Latok peaks next to Baintha Brakk are similar, however.) For instance, its South Face rises over 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) above the Uzun Brakk Glacier in only 2 km (1.24 mi) of horizontal distance.

It is due to this steep, rocky nature that Baintha Brakk has been both so difficult to climb and so attractive a target for extremely high-level mountaineers.

Climbing background

Following two unsuccessful attempts in the years of 1971 and 1976, the peak was 1st climbed by two Britons, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington, in 1977. (The other members of the party were Mo Anthoine, Clive Rowland, Nick Estcourt, and Tut Braithwaite. Estcourt, Anthoine, and Rowland all reached the lower West Summit, while Braithwaite was injured early on by rockfall. They climbed through the Southwest Spur to the West Ridge and over the West Summit to the Main Summit. The ascent of the summit block required difficult rock climbing that extended the boundaries of what had been done at over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet).

The descent showed more dangerous still: On the first rappel from the summit, Scott broke both legs. After that, Bonington broke two ribs and contracted pneumonia. Also, much of the week-long descent to base camp was in a major storm. Although, they were all able to reach base camp, where they had a long wait for assistance.

The second ascent of Baintha Brakk was made by Urs Stöcker, Iwan Wolf, and Thomas Huber, on the day of 21 July 2001, via the South Pillar route, following their first ascent of the subsidiary peak Ogre III (circa 6,800 meters [22,300 feet]). They note that there were more than twenty unsuccessful expeditions in the interim. Mountain INFO magazine characterized their ascent as “arguably the most eminent mountaineering achievement during the whole 2001 season.”

A third ascent by a new line on the peak’s South Face was made by Americans Kyle Dempster and Hayden Kennedy on the day of August 21, 2012. Compatriot Josh Wharton had also accompanied them on the climb but had to abandon the attempt at approximately 6800 meters (approximately 22,310 feet) because of the altitude sickness. Previously in their trip the two had made another first ascent (along with Slovenian Urban Novak) of a new line on the massive east face of K7 (6,934 meters, 22,749 feet).

 

 

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