Laila Peak - West Face - 2013

Spanish climbers José Fernandez and Alex Txikon have made the first winter ascent of the iconic Laila Peak in the Karakoram, Pakistan

First winter ascent of Laila Peak ( 6096m )

West Face

Karakoram, Pakistan

18 February 2013

Climbed by José Fernandez, Alex Txikon

Other members of the expedition: Ramón Portilla, Juanjo San Sebastián

Spanish climbers José Fernandez and Alex Txikon have made the first winter ascent of the iconic Laila Peak in the Karakoram, Pakistan. However, they didn't stand on the mountain's summit, judging the snow conditions to be too dangerous for that.

Following an unsuccessful attempt a week earlier, they made the ascent of the mountain's west face on 18 February in a single push from their top camp at 5600m - a day they have described as "wild, extreme, hard, endless, under very adverse weather conditions." They had to contend with a temperature of -35°C and winds of up to 60km/h.

The last two pitches involved chest-deep snow. They reached a point at which their GPS set indicated an altitude of 6100m1. Txikon said afterwards:

"At most, we would be able to get about ten metres from where the summit, strictly speaking, is, but there was so much powder snow that it was impossible to continue and if we had, it would no doubt have given way and we would have fallen into space on the other side."2

José Fernandez and Alex Txikon added:

"It was very, very hard, but we are very pleased and proud of the work we have completed, with the feeling of having reached one of the most beautiful and challenging summits of our lives."

Team-mates Ramón Portilla and Juanjo San Sebastián didn't take part in the final ascent, since Portilla had developed symptoms of frostbite and San Sebastián had suffered a knee injury during the earlier attempt.

  • 1. 6096m is widely accepted as the altitude of Laila Peak, but some sources give an altitude of around 6200m and this seems to be supported by Google Map and Google Earth
  • 2. "A lo mejor, como mucho, nos habremos podido quedar a unos diez metros de lo que es el pico de la cumbre propiamente dicho, pero había tanta nieve en polvo que no se podía seguir, y de haberlo hecho seguramente se habría quebrado y nos habríamos caído al vacío por la otra vertiente" - Alex Txikon

Laila Peak in the Ascent Book

Other climbs on Laila Peak in the Himalayan Climbs mountaineering database

Mountain Facts

Laila Peak, Hushe Valley, Pakistan

N 35° 35′ 28.4136″ W 76° 26′ 33.1008″

Elevation: 6096m

Laila Peak on the map

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