Rocktype Crumbly rubbish
Altitude 6441m a.s.l
West Face of Khani Basa Sar (6441) © Lee Harrison
This is an unclimbed peak located in the heart of the Hispar Muztagh, one of the Karakoram’s most formidable sub-ranges. The mountain is situated east of the Jutmo glacier and west of the Khani Basa glacier, both of which extend northwards from the Hispar Glacier, the fifth longest in Pakistan. Despite a major Karakoram glacier being named after the peak it is by no means the highest mountain rising from the glacier. At the head of the Khani Basa glacier is Kanjut Sar (7760m), the third highest peak in the Hispar Muztagh and on its eastern aspect is Kanjut Sar 2 (6831m). North and south of Khani Basa Sar are the relatively minor North-Eastern Jutmo glacier and East Jutmo Glacier which extend from the main Jutmo Glacier.
Because Khani Basa Sar is not visible from the northern side of the Hispar Glacier few people have set eyes on the peak. This may partly explain why the peak has received so few attempts. The lack of attempts is also no doubt due to the fact that the mountain offers no easy lines of ascent. I attempted a route from the East Jutmo glacier with Peter Thompson which appeared to me to have the most potential. Besides our attempt on the mountain there are no other official attempts. Throughout the Karakoram there have been many illegal ascents over the years and there maybe previous attempts on Khani Basa Sar that I am not aware of.
The route that I took up followed the East Jutmo glacier eastwards to a col at around 5600m. From here the attempt was abandoned as the southeast ridge which extended from the col to the summit looked extremely knife-edge and dangerous.
The mountain also appears to have some weird anatomy. From one perspective it appeared that the southeast ridge had two summits with a dip in the middle. Satalite mapping also shows this with a first peak approximately 80m below the higher with an approximate 200m drop between the two peaks.
One of the main problems with climbing Khani Basa Sar is the poor rock quality. Never have I encountered a mountain with so much rock falling off it. A number of couloirs on the southern side of the mountain would potentially make excellent routes were it not for the fact that huge amounts of rock continually falls down them. There is a particularly impressive steep broad couloir on the south-western aspect of the mountain that rises to a point just south of the main summit. Unfortunately this also receives a lot of rock fall. Due to poor rock quality trad climbing gear is virtually useless meaning the southeast ridge I declined to follow would offer little protection. Officially the Himalayan chain is slowly rising however I believe that Khani Basa Sar is slowly falling down!
Khani Basa Sar is a beautiful mountain however. The eastern face of the mountain is a steep mixed rock wall that extends from the glacier all the way to the summit without change in gradient and may have inspired the Khani Basa Glacier to be named after the peak. The southern and eastern aspects of the mountain also contain impressive rock buttresses and shear cliffs. Unfortunately I have not seen the northern side of the mountain and therefore cannot comment upon it. I imagine few people have visited the North-Eastern Jutmo Glacier.
A base camp can be reached in around four days from Hispar village, give or take a day, depending on your pace and where base camp is placed. If you have more than five porters then a guide is compulsory according to village rules (but not government rules). Hispar porters unfortunately do not have a reputation for being the most reliable so a guide may not be such a bad idea for this trek in. I personally had no problems with our porters and found them to be a very amiable lot. Only problem was that they seemed to be attracted to campsites with no water! I am not sure how many stages it will be to base camps on the Jutmo and Khani Basa glaciers but I would guess that it will be somewhere between 9 and 12 depending where you camp. Porter rates and stages may seem high to those who have previously visited Pakistan but these have risen significanty in the last couple of years across all the Northern Areas. No doubt as a result of tourist numbers slowly starting to rise again.
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