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Bulgarians bag two virgin spires in the Khane Valley in Karakorum

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Mountaineering season in the rigid Karakorum may have finally come to an end but hard climbers from Bulgaria are still bagging some virgin peaks in the region, many of whom-never been climbed before.

Khane Valley, almost adjacent to the famous Hushe Valley, boosts of some breathtakingly beautiful spires, never been climbed before.

Bulgarian hard climbers Nikolay Petkov, Doychin Boyanov and Mihail Mihaylov first surveyed the area in September last year and were bamboozled with all the splendid rocky spires which were never climbed before. They returned this year to bag consecutive 5000ers in the fag end of the year, climbing and naming the spires one after the other.


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Khane Valley lies immediately south of the Nangma Valley and has some of the steep Big Wall ascents, still awaiting aspiring climbers. Absence of record keeping of the ascents in the valley, the only reliable source of information is available from the locals, according to whom a Korean team visited the area in 2001 but left after some unsuccessful attempts at the southwest face of Agil (ca 5,680m).

Also an American climber reached the Base Camp of Shingu Charpu (Great Tower, 5,850m).

As per the reports coming in from the climbers, On August 13-14, Nikolay Petkov, Doychin Boyanov and Mihail Mihaylov realized the unclimbed Vasil Levski peak (5733 m).Later the climbers moved in to bag the Grey Tower.

On Aug 19-20, Petkov and Boyanov ascended the big wall route on the east face of the unclimbed Grey Tower (5434 m).


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“We made a tent under the wall, at 5050 m, in the icy circus between peak Sofia, Singu Chatpa (Great Tower), Levski and Rila. Then in two days (one bivouac at 5648 m), climbing 14 pitches with 50 m double rope. Used only nuts for protection. At about 10 am on August 14 we reached the summit – an ideal rocky pyramid. Then 10 big rappels to the icy/snowy couloir.” says Petkov.

Elaborating on their attempt at the Grey Tower towards the end of August, Petkov said, “We made a tent on the col between Meligo Peak and Grey Tower. It is difficult and dangerous to reach the col from Khane valley because the last 300 meters are icy, snowy and hit by early morning rock falls.”


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“From here to the summit are 13 pitches in total, mainly easy and moderate climbing, with one/two sections 6a+/6b. The summit itself is an ideal needle, rocky, with a 2×3 m flat place on the top. Fantastic views in all directions. Then 11 rappels to the col plus 80 m down climbing at one place.”

The Bulgarians named the towers over the existing local names, then those given by the Korean teams, and finally applied their own nomenclature while naming the peaks.


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