The Trango Group
The Trango Towers group has seen some of the most difficult and
significant climbs ever accomplished, due to the combination of altitude, total
height of the routes, and the steepness of the rock.
All of the routes are highly technical climbs.
The Great Trango
Great Trango was first climbed in 1977 by Galen Rowell, John Roskelley, Kim
Schmitz, Jim Morrissey and
Dennis Hennek by a route which started from the west side (Trango Glacier),
and climbed a combination of ice ramps and gullies with rock faces, finishing on
the upper South Face. The east face of Great Trango is the world's tallest
vertical rock face, and was first climbed (to the East Summit) in 1984 by the
Norwegians Hans Christian Doseth and Finn Dĉhli, who both died on the descent.
The first successful climb of and return from the East Summit was in 1992, by
Xaver Bongard and John Middendorf, on a route parallel to that of the ill-fated
Norwegians. These two climbs have been called "perhaps the hardest big-wall
climbs in the world. The easiest route on Great Trango is on the Northwest Face, and was climbed
in 1984 by Andy Selters and Scott Woolums.
This is nonetheless a very serious, technical climb.
Trango (The Nameless) Tower
Trango (Nameless) Tower was first climbed in 1976 by the legendary British
climber Joe Brown, along with Mo Anthoine, Martin Boysen, and Malcolm Howells.
It is now a popular ascent, albeit for the elite of the climbing community:
there are at least eight separate routes to the summit. One notable route is known as Eternal Flame (named after a Bangles
album), first climbed on September 20, 1989 by Kurt Albert and Wolfgang Güllich.
This route ascends the South-East Face of the Tower, and was climbed almost
entirely free (in stages, using fixed ropes to return to a base each night).
This helped inaugurate an era of pure rock-climbing techniques and aesthetics on
The West summit of Great Trango and the Trango Pulpit were both first climbed
in 1999. The West summit was climbed by two separate teams, one American and one
Russian, almost simultaneously, by parallel routes. The American team of Alex
Lowe, Jared Ogden, and Mark Synnott climbed a long, bold, highly technical line
which they called "Parallel Worlds." They reported difficulties up to 5.11 and
A4. The Russian team of Potan'kin Igor, Alexandr Odintsov, Ivan Samoilenko and
Yuri Koshelenko climbed an equally proud route (Eclissi) and encountered similar
technical challenges. Both climbs were nominated for the prestigious Piolet D'or
award in 1999. The Pulpit was climbed by a Norwegian team.
On August 26, 1992, Australians Nic Feteris and Glenn Singleman climbed Great
Trango and then BASE jumped from an elevation of 5,955 meters (19,537 ft) on the
Northwest Face, landing on the northern side of the Dunge Glacier at an altitude
of 4,200 meters (13,779 ft). This was the highest BASE jump on record (at least
in terms of starting elevation, and possibly in terms of total vertical
descent). The record for
starting elevation is now claimed to have been broken by Singleman himself and
partner Heather Swan for jumping from Meru Peak in northern India on 23 May
2006. This jump started at an elevation of 6,604 meters (21,667 ft) to 4,850
meters (15,912 ft). (Note that
the claimed vertical descent is almost identical to that of the Trango jump.)
Some of the more recent ascents on Great Trango have focused on the longer
routes found on the west and south sides. In particular, in 2004 Josh Wharton
and Kelly Cordes completed a new, very long (2,256 meter/7,400 ft) route on the
Southwest Ridge, or Azeem Ridge, to the Southwest Summit. Though not as
extremely technical as the East Face routes, the climb was notable for the
extremely lightweight and fast (5 days) style in which it was done.
Over 7 days in August 2005, two Slovak climbers, Gabo Cmarik and Jozef Kopold,
climbed a new route, which they termed Assalam Alaikum, to the right of
the Wharton/Cordes line on the south face of Great Trango. The climb comprised
around 90 pitches, up to 5.11d A2. They used a lightweight style similar to that
of Wharton and Cordes.
In the same month, Samuel Johnson, Jonathon Clearwater and Jeremy Frimer made
the first ascent of the southwest ridge of Trango II, which they termed
Severance Ridge. The route involved 1,600 m of climbing over five days, with
rock climbing up to 5.11 A2 and ice and mixed climbing up to AI3 M5.