SLOVENIAN BONANZA IN THE TRANGO GROUP

Posted on: September 28, 2006


A route description from Alpinist Issue 11's Mountain Profile of Trango Tower (6239m). This photo, of the south and east faces of Trango Tower, shows the following routes: 3. Gran Diedre Desplomado (VI 5.11 A4, 1100m, Delale-Schaffter-Fauquet-Piola, 1987). 12. Claire de Lune (VI 5.10d A3, 1230m, Besson-Gaillan-Maret-Roux, 1999). 5. Spanish Route (ED: 5.10a A3, 1500m, Clavel-Gallego-Ros-Seiguer, 1989). 1. British Route (VI 5.10 A2, 1100m, Anthoine-Boysen-Brown-Howells, 1976). 6. Eternal Flame (VI 5.12c A0, 35 pitches, Albert-Gullich-Stiegler-Sykora, 1989). 2. Slovenian Route (VI 5.11 A0, 900m, Cankar-Knez-Srot, 1987 [FFA: VI 5.12, Albert-Gullich-Munchenbach, 1988]). 8. Run For Cover (VI 5.11 A3+, 1000m, Child-Wilford, 1992). 4a. Cowboy Direct (VII 5.13a, Bechtel-Lilygren-Model-Skinner, 1995; climbs bottom of Slovenian Route to the Shoulder, then takes new ground before connecting with the Swiss-Polish Route to reach the summit). 4. Swiss-Polish Route (VI 5.10 A3, 1100m, Kurtyka-Loretan, 1988). 7. Steppenwolf (VII 5.10 A4+, 1100m, Minamiura, 1990). In 2006, a Slovenian expedition managed the Tower's first one-day and first all-female ascents, via the Eternal Flame route, and a repeat of the Slovenian Route. [Photo] John Middendorf

Alpinist Issue 11 featured a 20-page Mountain Profile on Pakistan's Trango Tower by Trango veteran Greg Child. One year later, the article appears to have inspired a spate of activity, when, in late August, a large group of Slovenians blasted the Trango Group. Unsettled weather throughout their 25-day stay dictated a light and fast approach and prevented "old hands," Andrej Grmovsek and Silvo Karo, from attempting their main objective, the unrepeated Gallego Route (ED: 5.10a A3, 1500m, Clavel-Gallego- Ros-Seiguer, 1989) on the south face of Trango Tower (6239m). Instead, these two acclimatized on new routes, kicking off on August 17 with a six-hour first ascent of Warming Up Ridge (5.10d, 450m, Grmovsek-Karo, 2006) on a ca. 4800-meter summit in the Uli Biaho Group that they named Uli Byapjun. On the 20th they reached the top of 5594-meter Uli Biaho Great Spire, a summit to the southeast of Uli Biaho Tower, climbed via the northeast face and south ridge, via Three Hundred Eggs (5.11a, 600m, Grmovsek-Karo, 2006). After summiting Great Trango (6286m) via the Normal Route and adding a couple more rock routes to the slabs immediately above Trango Base Camp, the pair made a one-day alpine-style ascent of Eternal Flame (VI 5.12c A0, 35 pitches, Albert-Guillich-Stiegler-Sykora, 1989: best free effort to date by Denis Burdet in 2003 at 5.13a and A0) on the southeast face of Trango Tower. The pair climbed the 1000-meter route at VI 5.12b/c A2 M5, reaching the summit at midnight on September 8 and regaining the foot of the face just 24 hours after leaving. Prior to this year the only alpine-style ascent of this route to the summit was made over three days in 2004 by fellow Slovenians Tomaz Jakofcic, Klemen Mali and Miha Valic.

Meanwhile, the women in the party, Tina di Batista (Jakofcic's partner), Tanja Grmovsek (Andrej's wife) and Aleksandra Voglar, first climbed the Normal Route on Great Trango, then repeated two rock routes above base camp, before making a three-day alpine-style ascent of Eternal Flame at 5.11b A2 and M5. They used quite a lot of aid in the upper section due to very cold temperatures and reached the summit at 9 p.m. on September 9. This was the first all-female ascent of the Tower.

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The third party in this expedition comprised young guns, brothers Ales and Nejc Cesen, Matjez Jeran and Matevz Kunsic. These four also had an amazingly productive time, climbing the Normal Route on Great Trango, followed by ca. 5450-meter Little Trango (first ascent: McMahon-Wharton, 2000 at 5.10+) and then making the second ascent of ca. 5850-meter Trango Monk (the first of this 450m pinnacle northwest of Trango Tower was made in 2004 by Slovenians Jakofcic, Mali and Valic at 6b A2 and 70 degrees). All four also climbed the Slovenian Route (VI 5.11 A0, 900m, Cankar-Knez-Srot, 1987) on the southeast face of the Tower, with two of the party making an all-free ascent at 5.12a/b. Now that's a vacation!

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