While the rest of the world followed the star-studded-glamour climb of the prestigious K2, there was a silent bunch of warriors locked up in their third attempt to scale the unclimbed and highly technical Link Sar deep in the Charakusa valley of Karakoram.
Although the climbers are still on their way down to the Base Camp of the 7,041m Link Sar, it has now been confirmed that this craggy giant which has eluded so many aspiring attempts has finally been taken down. Team members included Steve Swenson, Chris Wright, Graham Zimmerman and Mark Richey, where Swenson, Wright and Zimmerman have attempted this peak in 2017 and were forced to abandon the expedition due to inclement weather.
This was Swenson’s third attempt of the elusive Link Sar.
Link Sar is situated between the K6 and K7 mountains hence getting its name as a link between the two mountains. Link Sar along with the still unclimbed Saltoro Kangri are located in the East of Karakorum in the famous Charakusa valley which is often out of bound for foreigners due to its proximity with the disputed Siachen region. Charakusa valley is considered as the most sought after destination for the climbers and high altitude mountaineers from all over the world. The valley has a huge stockpile of 6000m and above peaks never climbed before.
Englishman Jon Griffith is probably known to have made the most attempts of the mountain. Starting in 2012 and followed by consecutive four expeditions, he was able to reach the northwest face at 6938m west top in 2015.
He was accompanied by Andy Houseman, another British climber from the UK Alpine Club and Griffith’s former climbing partner in Link Sar 2014 expedition.
A celebrated American climber, former president of American Alpine Club, Swenson landed the coveted Piolets d’Or for successfully ascending the unclimbed Saser Kangri 2 East (7,518m) in 2012.
The 65-year-old American is best known for his book “Karakorum: Climbing through the Kashmir Conflict” where he has shared his reveling experience of traveling and climbing in Pakistan.
Swenson launched his first attempt of Link Sar in the year 2001 along with his partner George Lowe, which turned out to be more of a recon expedition. Initially they started off following the Japanese line of 1974 on the east face above the Kondus Glacier but later abandoned the route and attempted the north side above the Kaberi Glacier. The expedition was eventually called off sighting bulk load of dangerous seracs throughout the route.
The Expedition has remained off the internet grid as we wait for details of the heroic ascent.