UK-Canadian Distaghil Sar 2008
Distaghil Sar (7,883m) in the Hispar Range of Pakistan has had four previous ascents; this team hoped to make the first ascent of its north ridge. The one previous attempt on the ridge had been stopped by the Upper Malangutti glacier, so this team planned to bypass the glacier by adopting an innovatory approach from the east. The peak is high, remote and very committing and they knew that the trip would involve a considerable level of exploration. However, on arrival at P6247m, they discovered that in the past 10 years the whole area had changed beyond all recognition – presumably the effect of climate change – and the terrain had become extremely dangerous. They abandoned the expedition with no further climbing attempts. This expedition received the Nick Estcourt Award for 2008.
Note: On completion of the above expedition, Ben Cheek set out on his own to make a second attempt on the unclimbed north face of Shimshal Whitehorn (6,303m) – described as ‘one of the most beautiful mountains in the Karakoram’. Despite helicopter searches by the local military and land searches by his colleagues, he was never seen again. We would like to express our deepest sympathy to Ben’s family and friends.