As the Markhum region of the Karakoram was closed until 1986, Zartgarbin, 5,850m (aka Saue Gerdan), had only received one previous attempt, and that was by a team from a British school. Examination of photographs taken on that occasion led the present team to think that it would be possible to ascend a relatively straightforward snow couloir to gain the NE Ridge. However, a series of hot summers in the intervening years had made drastic changes to the terrain, and the anticipated snow turned out to be bare ice. Cox suffered a chest complaint, so he and his partner turned back, leaving Coffey and Smith to continue to 5,300m, where a shortage of ice screws forced them to abandon the attempt. As they arrived back at BC a storm broke, with some of the heaviest rain experienced in Pakistan for over 100 years.