Altitude 5964m a.s.l
View South along the Yazghil Glacier to the Hispar Muztagh © Lee Harrison
Yazghil Sar is an isolated snow-and-ice peak between the Yukshin Garden and Yazghil glaciers in the Shimshal valley. It is a relatively easy to climb and ideal as a first Karakoram peak or as acclimatisation for higher/harder objectives. It is also easily accessible, located a days walk east of Shimshal village, which now has a Jeep road extending from the Karakoram Highway. The peak has two summits with the north summit being marginally lower than the main south summit.
The mountain takes its name from the grazing area on its lower slopes which is the nearest grazing area to Shimshal village. The peak may not be one of the Karakorum's most striking however the views from the mountain are stunning with particularly good views towards the northern faces of the Hispar Muztagh. North of Yazghil Sar the main ridge continues to Skirish Sar (6600m) before rising further to Yukshin Garden Sar (7000m). The summit ridge is relatively long and the main summit is often hard to identify until in close proximity. In 1988 Ernie McGlashan, Jack Brindle and John O'Reilly first reached the summit via the northwest face and north ridge. They made the climb in three days from base camp at 3600m on the lateral moraine next to the Yazghil glacier. A high camp was set on the northwest slopes at 4670m and a bivouac ledge hacked out of ice on the north ridge at 5180m. Since then the peak has received a steady flow of climbers including by a number of locals. The peak is a just under 6000m having been surveyed at both 5932m and 5964m. The Leomann map imaginatively surveys the peak at 6300m however the mountain is definitely not this high.
The Jeep track to Shimshal was completed a couple of years ago and it is now possible to travel from Passu on the KKH in a couple of hours. There is a daily public Jeep although this does not seem to run at a regular time and I have often had to hire a private Jeep or wait a day. Passu-Shimshal special hires cost around Rs2500. All vehicles leave from the Shimshal restaurant which is a short distance north of the Batura Inn. Until last year vehicles left from the cluster of buildings in the centre of Shimshal however this is no longer the case.
Porters are easy to arrange in Shimshal. We paid three stages to climb to a shepherd hut at 3500m. Four stages is asked for to go to base camp at around 4500m. Unlike the rest of Pakistan, Shimshalis only carry 20kg (opposed to 25kg) plus their own equipment. Shimshali porters are hard working and generally reliable however. The way to Yazghil Sar follows the Shimshal valley east following a faint trail along the southern edge. It takes the best part of a day to reach the Yazghil glacier and cross it. Prior to crossing the Yazghil Glacier the trail follows an attractive ablation valley. The Yazghil Glacier is beautifully white unlike most in Pakistan which are covered in moraine. Route finding across the glacier is not straight forward but local porters know the way and there should be no problems in their company. Having descended to the western edge of the glacier walk a short distance south to where the glacier is flatter, then cross. Crevasses are less of a problem on the glacier however much of the glacier is too steep to traverse. There is no water between Shimshal and Yazghil Glacier however clear water is in abundance on the glacier. Bring sufficient water from Shimshal village. On reaching the eastern edge of the glacier again walk a short distance south to where a path climbs from the glacier to a camping spot (3300m) when running water. The paths leading from the glaciers on both east and west banks are hard to spot. From the east side of Yazghil glacier the route I took is described on the northwest face and north ridge page. Skirting the Yazghil glacier to the north is not really worthwhile due to the significant detour. The glacier also extends to the Shimshal river making a detour difficult anyway.
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