Muztagh Tower - Think Twice - 2012

First ascent of the Northeast Buttress of the Muztagh Tower, Karakoram (Pakistan)

Muztagh Tower ( 7276m )

First ascent of Think Twice

Karakoram, Pakistan

3400m, ED 6a A2 M6

25 August 2012

Climbed by Sergey Nilov, Dmitry Golovchenko, Alexander Lange

Other members of the expedition: Sergey Kotachkov

Joint winner of the Piolets d'Or 2013

Sergey Nilov, Dmitry Golovchenko, and Alexander Lange have climbed the Muztagh Tower via a new route on the mountain's north-east buttress. The ascent took 17 days, and the team ran out of food and fuel just before reaching the summit.

The northeast buttress - which could as aptly be called the northeast spur - is a beautiful line and appears to be relatively safe from the avalanches that threaten other sections of the northeast face. The team dubbed it "the saw." The buttress is about 2000m high and involved an estimated 3400m of climbing

The lower half of the route is a snow-ice slope of 60 degrees, leading to a vertical wall at around 6500m, with a crux section between 6600m and 6900m. The climbers describe the wall as "steep ice-covered, snow-covered rocks vertical and overhanging sections, with loose snow on vertical rocks."

"From time to time avalanches fell upon us. You hang, wait when it covers you, but the avalanche falling from the upper snow slopes on the vertical wall is dispersing in the air, spattering you with snow dust and fear. " - Alexander Lange

The climbers reached the summit at 7am on 25 August. Descending in bad weather and  poor visibility, they failed to establish themselves on their intended descent route down the north ridge. Instead, they descended the objectively dangerous north face, following icy cascades parallel to the northern ridge. They were narrowly missed by large avalanches and their headtorches gave out during the night. The descent took 24 hours.

The team called their route Think Twice. They are  the first climbers to have reached the summit of the Muztagh Tower by a new route since the mountain received its first and second ascents (by British and French teams) in 1956.

Slovenian climbers  Pavle Kozjek and Dejan Miškovic completed a new route on the northeast face in 2008, but high winds prevented them continuing to the summit. Kozjek fell through a cornice to his death during the descent. Miškovic, left without supplies or a rope, continued to descend until  stalemated above a heavily crevassed section of glacier. He was rescued by Tomaz Humar and Ales Kozelj, members of a separate Slovenian expedition returning from a successful ascent of K7.

  • Muztagh Tower, northeast buttress
    Muztagh Tower, northeast buttress
    Piolet d'Or
  • Muztagh Tower
    Muztagh Tower
    Wikimedia Commons

More about this ascent

External references for this climb.

Mountain Facts

Muztagh Tower, Gilgit-Baltistan , Pakistan

N 35° 49′ 43.4604″ W 76° 21′ 38.6316″

Elevation: 7276m

Muztagh Tower on the map

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