Opening of the “Harvest Moon” Way Dansam Pic Ouest 6600m / 1600m / WI6 / M6

Alpine Style - June 2021

Martin Élias - Jérôme Sullivan - Jérémy Stagnetto - Victor Saucède

A short story of an incredible adventure in the heart of Baltistan

We departed in June of 2021 - Martin Elias, Jérémy Stagnetto, Jérôme Sullivan and myself - Despite all the barriers against us and reinforced by Covid; we somehow managed to fly into Pakistan.

Our dream was to visit a remote area of ​​Pakistan and climb the north face of Dansam Peak West (K13). The bottom of the Kondus valley, close to the border with India, is a heavily guarded military zone. For more than thirty years, these mountains have been closed to climbers.

We were lucky to be able to venture out and climb one of them.

After a period of acclimatization under intense sun, a disturbance settled on the Karakorum, and prevented us from embarking on the climb of this great wall laden with rocks and ice. Gradually our morale started to weak, and our hopes dwindled. The date of return to France was fast approaching and we imagined the worst: having to return without having been able to set foot in the mountains.

Despite the frustration, we tried our best to cheer up and enjoy the moment in this amazing country.

With a smile on his lips, Martin, reassures us and lets us dream a little more,

"It's almost the moon change, hopefully the weather will improve.”

In the hope that his words are right, we decided to begin the approach and our adventure.

After a day of walking, we stood at the foot of this great wall to observe the beautiful line of ice from our tents, inspired by this great slide. The next day, we started our ascent.

The pitches of snow and ice followed one another, and as the days passed and we gradually gained height. Between two spindrift (small snowfall), we saw how stout the of the following sections were. The ice straightened until it became vertical.

Our forearms heated up, calves paralyzed, but the pleasure of climbing this mountain was an immense joy.

After another night perched on a snowy ridge, we climbed slowly towards the summit. The difficulties were less, but the effort was still grueling. Breaths were shortened and we were breathing hard. Immersed in our own thoughts, we admired the granite towers and the high snow-capped peaks and walked one step after another in the direction of this small triangle of granite perched at the top of Dansam West.

When we reached the top, we were a little shocked to find climbing equipment on a mountain that we thought was unclimbed!

But this furtive feeling was quickly swept away by all the emotions of joy that swirled in our minds. The mountain had spoiled us so much!

After a day of rappelling the face, we walked, exhausted but with full hearts, towards our base camp and soon our homes.

Thank you to the Balti people, to our many supporters and thank you to the moon.