Four mountaineers cum snow-boarders to lay siege of the stunning Laila Peak in an attempt to snow-board the mountain
World’s most beautiful mountain, arguably though, Laila Peak is back in the business again, but this time around-for all the wrong reasons. A group of four snowboarders and sky skiers are now attempting to ski the 6096m mountain, which, if successful, will be an unprecedented feat undertaken on Laila Peak.
Paul Holding (splitboarder), Brendan O’Sullivan (splitboarder), Edward Blanchard Wrigglesworth and Luca Pandolfi (snowboarder)
are now climbing their way up the tricky cliff to ski their way down a the North-west Face.
The four climbers/sportsmen reached the Base Camp of Laila after trekking the perilous terrain of Baltoro and Biafo Glacier for a long seven days and are now all set to acclimatize and attempt to reach the top in a short period of 18 days.
Paul shared some details of their ordeal to reach the remote mountainous region of the Karakorum.
“I’ll spare you the details of the trip there (and back. It was the same) but suffice to say after an epic 26.5 hrs non-stop drive on the famous Karakoram highway to Skardu which was pretty uncomfortable and sleep deprived with the odd armed
police escort, we were all more than ready to get to Laila Peak base camp, recover, rest and acclimatize”.
Following in the footsteps of late Fredrik Ericsson who attempted to scale the mountain in 2010 and whose attempt was thwarted by avalanche risk but inspired splitboarder Paul Holding and his friends to attempt the feat. Ericsson later lost his life in an attempt to snow-board the mighty K-2.
Laila Peak may present a beautiful sight to the adventure lovers and photographers but poses a serious challenge to the mountaineers and snow-boarders alike. The huge serac at the top of the peak, piled up in a span of several decades can be easily converted into a colossal avalanche by a simple crack at the bottom.
The severity of the situation can be amply described by Ericsson and his partner Trey Cook’s views regarding their failed attempt in 2010.
Trey said, “The northwest aspect of Laila is a massive, flat and featureless 45-50 degrees-steep tabletop and it was easy to imagine that any kind of fracture would release the entire face. It’s times like these that I find it useful to pause for a moment to reflect on my priorities in life”.
Regardless of whether Paul and his teammates will be successful in their mission, Laila Peak’s astounding beauty has awestruck the team for the moment.
Paul says, “It’s not a particularly well known mountain outside the climbing world but I think all would agree that seen from this perspective, Laila Peak would be vying for top spot on the podium of a Miss Mountain World competition”.