OverviewThe route is an Alpine snow and ice route with no rock climbing involved. The climb can easily be made in two days making a high camp at 5150m at the start of the rib. Route finding is the main challenge towards the base of the mountain as there are numerous crevasses and seracs. There is also a risk of avalanche in bad conditions (see trip report). A more direct route may be possible from a gully directly below the high camp although we did not survey this sufficiently to suitably expand upon its potential as a route. Peter, my climbing partner did see an avalanche crash down this gully although snow conditions were poor at the time.
ApproachSee the Getting There section for details on how to reach base camp on the north side of the Hispar Glacier.
Crossing the Hispar Glacier to reach Haigutum East on the south side of the mountain requires patience. Most of the glacier is covered in loose rock however there is a broad central strip of white ice with a network of ribs and streams. Finding an appropriate route to gaining and exit this central strip may time time. In 2006 a large stream ran along the north side of the white glacial strip however it could be crossed at narrow points via large rocks that bridging the gap. You may even want to don crampons in order to take a more direct line through this central part.
The numerous crevasses on the lower slope of Haigutum East need to be skirted to the west before following an obvious line from west to east traversing almost from below the peak to the right to approximately half way up the Haigutum East. This may seem a long route but it works and is largely safe from serac fall. Once on the traverse/climb east take care not to climb too high as you will encounter snow fields littered with avalanche debris with overhung seracs lining the route above. The climb to high camp is gentle with the odd crevasse that needs to be skirted around. The high camp is relatively easy to identify from the northern side of the Hispar glacier and is where the easy traverse line from west to east described above meets the north-eastern rib halfway up the mountain.
From high camp ascend the rib that begins directly above. The route winds through seracs and crosses several difficult crevasses situated beneath relatively steep snow to eventually meet the summit ridge east of the summit and approximately 400m above high camp. When we climbed the northern ridge the snow conditions were particularly poor making going slow. Conditions on the main summit ridge improved however. This stretch of climbing involves a lengthy traverse along 45° ice followed by a number of steep short pitches to eventually reach the summit.
Essential Gear1 x Rope (essential). 2 would make abseils quicker
Technical axes (2 axes required for second day)
Belay/abseil device (for abseils)
22cm Ice Screw for Abalikov abseils