Latok I - A Climb Without a Summit


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Somewhere over the rainbow
Apr 29, 2009 - 02:01pm PT
A mere opportunistic hanger on?
I'll say it again, YEAH RIGHT!

You four were the inspiration that has fueled the amazing accomplishments of the past few decades. When I stare in awe of the recent accomplishments of luminaries like Garribotti, Haley, Copp, Anderson and House just to name a few I think it is safe to say they can all trace some part of their personal approach to the fantastic four on Latok 1.
So will generations of alpinistas who will follow in footsteps to big to fill.

And big kudos to Steve for posting another fine thread.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 29, 2009 - 02:34pm PT
At least Michael isn't claiming to have been the token Canadian or anything. But then, weren't Chouinard's parents Canadian?

A magnificent climb and team, however you look at it.

Trad climber
Apr 30, 2009 - 11:19am PT
Outstanding climb.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 30, 2009 - 12:09pm PT
Yeah Dingus, but I guess not many people will post to it since it doesn't discuss religion or politics.

60 degrees!
(thats 140F)

Summer of '78 I thought I was toughing it out climbing in Zion in 50 degrees.
Gawd what a wimp.

Cheers to the team, hope the elbow is healed up Mike.

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 30, 2009 - 12:16pm PT
What's there to say after 20 futile attempts that didn't come close to the first other than it must be global warming (wink)?
A seminal effort.
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
Apr 30, 2009 - 01:54pm PT
I lost count, but it was 3 full days of rappelling, the first two in a storm. We wanted to get down, so we weren't hanging around admiring the view.

For some reason rappels always make me nervous.
scuffy b

Bad Brothers' Bait and Switch Shop
Apr 30, 2009 - 02:21pm PT
I'm certainly glad this has come up, and especially stuck around
long enough for me to finally read in full.

Congratulations to all, of course, for undertaking and surviving
this endeavor.

Michael, your writing in the Rock and Ice article is
particularly gripping and absorbing.

Thanks, much.


May 1, 2009 - 12:05am PT
Two superb renderings of the story. Thanks for posting it, for those of us who wouldn't have been reading Climbing in 1979.

What's the elevation of the base camp in the first picture, that is, how long is the ridge? The 440-foot difference in height between the high point and summit makes it look like the ridge gains about 4000 feet, but from the descriptions I think it must be much longer.
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
May 1, 2009 - 12:18am PT
The vertical gain from BC to summit is about 8000 feet, maybe a bit less. Elevation at BC was 15,500 ft. according to our maps at the time. There is some foreshortening in the first photo in the 1979 article. The glacier is pretty flat so you don't gain much height from BC to the bottom of the route.

We did about 80 pitches on the ridge, basically lost track after a while, so the total distance climbed was ... who knows?

Social climber
way out there
May 1, 2009 - 01:49am PT
Great story and historical perspective. Thanks!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2009 - 01:25am PT
Bump for inspired climbing!
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
May 10, 2009 - 03:43am PT
For some reason rappels always make me nervous.

Me toooooooo.

I remember that article, I still may even have it in a box somewhere.

Off White

Tenino, WA
May 11, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
When I come across a gem of a thread like this I like to bookmark it in a separate folder, that way it's retrievable when it sinks into the Supertopo Tar Pit. This sort of thing, where the FA party chimes in with their input and the gods of my youth are revealed to be ordinary conversational human beings is the thing most unique about this site compared to other climbing boards. Thanks to all ya'll like Jim & Mike who just step up to the plate and tell their stories, it's much appreciated.

Good luck to Colin on this route, a talented and charming individual from the PNW home team.

Oh, and ditto on the rappel anxiety, its a good time to pay close attention.

Trad climber
London, UK
May 11, 2009 - 03:25pm PT
And up.

"August-September, 1994 British climbers Brendan Murphy and Dave Wills try the North Ridge, reaching a high point of about 18,300 feet on their second attempt.

July-August, 1996 Murphy and Wills return, reaching about 20,000 feet before a dropped rucksack forces retreat. Two subsequent attempts are thwarted at 19,300 feet by poor weather."

Brendan was Irish and Dave Wills very much still is a Kiwi, although both were/are UK-based.

Their repeated attempts were the subject of gentle leg-pulling as to when they were going for the Red-Point ...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2009 - 10:48am PT
And with a lost sack to boot! I bet they got an earful that didn't empty for a long while! LOL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 6, 2009 - 01:04am PT
Big time adventure bump!

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 6, 2009 - 01:32am PT
Missed this first time around. It was my greatest failure - in a positive sense. Normally in my climbing I was used to being the strong one. Then here, on Latok, it was my illness forcing retreat. Two could have gone to the summit, and one could have descended to our high camp with me. But we were the four musketeers, "...all for one and one for all". The high point we reached on Latok was a twin highpoint of my career: the most coherent/compassionate team, and the most personally humbling yet inspiring experience I ever had. In the end, my three great partners would never allow me any guilt over our turning back.


Social climber
Nov 29, 2009 - 10:13am PT
hey there say, all... so much to read and learn here... not sure if i saw this a ways back... but i have so much to write, as to my stories, that i can't always read everything, so i have to "dip in and soak up a bit" and then travel on...

very nice stuff to learn here on ol' supertopo though...

thanks so much... seems steve grossman has a lot of great stuff to bump-up here this thanksgiving weekend...

thanks for all the share, you guys... :)

*say, not meaning to neglect others... lots of other nice post, too... and trips... i just can't get to them all, this is kind of an odd season for me... keep posting, folks, even if only a few readers show up---eventually, we find all these treasures.... >:D<

East of Seattle
Nov 29, 2009 - 10:54am PT
Fantastic! What an inspring story. Can't even begin to fathom the suffering though. Nice to have friends in high places.

Trad climber
electric lady land
Nov 29, 2009 - 11:46am PT
pure gold inlaid with platinum
and studded w/ diamonds this
thread is.

aside from an adventure told and
most of the team chiming in,
i really dig what jello sez:
In the end, my three great partners would never allow me any guilt over our turning back.


and thanks to the archivist who
shared .
Messages 21 - 40 of total 99 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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