Diran 7257 metres or 23948 ft in Pakistan was first climbed in 1968 by three Austrians: Rainer Goeschl, Rudolph Pischinger and Hanns Schell. Earlier attempts by a German expedition in 1959 and an Australian expedition in 1964 were unsuccessful. It looked a great hill and had an Alpine Style ascent of the North Face by Doug Scott in the mid 80’s it looked a good objective and one we may be able to get a lot of our expedition very high. We would use no porters after Base Camp and it was a fairly new game to many and these huge mountains take no prisoners as we were to find out.
Base camp is at 11600 feet a few are suffering from diarrhoea we soon get it sorted.
A safe route is explored through the glacier for our Advanced Base Camp. Marking the glacier with cairns to mark the dry section. We sort out Base Camp it’s in a safe place a lovely meadow with some cows for company. They wander about and even eat our washing and re digest it in the meadow.
15 July Within 3 days we are sorted and Bills group move up Advanced Base Camp ABC to reach the foot of the North East Ridge this is unclimbed and we have a team of 6 trying it no porters, Alpine style. They are stopped by soft snow at 14620 feet. They leave there ropes and gear at the high point.
The North Face group watch the big avalanches in the increasingly warm weather. Great care is needed. The face is avalanching every day. 18 July The North East ridge team decide to climb at night due to heat during the day. Pushing the route to about 600 feet below the ridge. A great effort.
The North Face group leave early as well and reach a point 2000 feet on the face. They return leaving a cache of tent and gear.
19 July Nearly a tragedy as ABC is hit by a huge avalanche in the late afternoon. There are 8 troops there fortunately the debris comes to a halt before the tents. This is an eye opener to the dangers of the big mountain we are on it shakes everyone.
All abandon ABC and the cairns are handy in the descent in the dark. We have a “thank God Party” and a rethink.
20 July – Day off and ABC moved to a safer area. Both teams move back to sort out ABC and others on other to climb peaks in the area.
22 July – North East Ridge Team reach the apex of the ridge weather is poor and descent is made under extremely difficult conditions. The North Face team plan to establish camp 1 on the Face and begin a summit bid the following morning.
One of the troops falls into a crevasse on way of but is okay. The team on the North Face have to turn back at 17000 (5150 metres) feet it’s raining hard. The Face is again avalanched.
23 July – Massive avalanche all summit attempts called off everyone leaves Advanced Base Camp. A porter arrives from the the nearby village of Minapin that 38 people have died from Cholera we send medical supplies simple things that save many lives. Basics to us like energy drinks and purifying tablets and bits and pieces. A bridge is down on the Karakorum Highway and will be for some time. The trekkers arrive and we have everyone is at Base Camp again. The trekkers have had a hard time and are exhausted wet and cold. It was a survival exercise Danny did so well leading them all and its snowing and raining now at Base camp.
Things do not look good but we are all alive when there is such tragedy about.
To be continued.