Featured Expedition: Charakusa Valley

In the far north of Pakistan, where the Karakorum Range looms over the upper reaches of the Indus River, stand the walls of the Charakusa Valley and what has been described as the largest and most beautiful granite valley in the world.  Four weeks from now, an expedition including a few friends of mine will leave to attempt a new route on a flank of 22,750 foot tall K7 called Nafee’s Cap.

The expedition consists of Josh Beckner, Jake Tipton, Ben Venter, and Willy Oppenheim- all professional guides and instructors with the experience to make this a reality, and the creativity to dream it up in the first place.  The big wall they have chosen as their primary objective is roughly 3,500 feet high and graded between 5.11 and 5.12.  Superlatives abound, but among the most remarkable aspects of this route is that it begins at 16,500 feet and tops out at 20,000 feet, heaping challenges on the team far beyond technical free climbing: high-altitude, cold, extreme weather, and access all play a factor.  Just accessing the basecamp will be it’s own adventure, as the Charakusa sits far up in the remote Hushe region made famous by Greg Mortensen’s now controversial book Three Cups of Tea.

They leave in three weeks.  Knowing them, I feel confident in saying this will be a clean expedition and in the highest style; wish them luck, and support their fundraising efforts below.  Safe travels guys.

From their website:

On June 15th, our team will embark on a six week expeiditon to the Charakusa Valley in the heart of the Karakorum, Pakistan.  We will attempt to climb a 3,500 foot wall that tops out around 20,000 feet.  Our team has selected Nafee’s cap  as its primary objective because of its stunning aesthetic quality and more importantly, the classic looking plum line from the glacier to the summit remains unclimbed! There have been 3 attempts by world class teams, however, none of them have been successful on this ‘Directisima.’  This line has the potential to be one of the proudest, most aesthetic routes in the region. Our proposed route follows crack and corner systems in the area of the red line in the photo below.Nafees’ Cap has been climbed by only two teams—first in 2007 and then in 2009.  The 2007 team climbed Ledgeway to Heaven in a sub-40 hour lightweight push, while the 2009 team spent nine days on Naughty Daddies. As you can see in the photo below, both teams chose routes on the shoulder of the formation instead of taking the hulking west face head-on.

Help support their attempt in the Charakusa Valley by donating via PayPal to Venter.Ben@gmail.com.  Any money left over will be donated to the Omprkash Foundation.  Act now with a donation of $26 and you’ll get a sweet Nafee’s Cap t-shirt with orginal artwork from the Charakusa Valley Expedition.

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