Welcome to SP!  -
Ultar II
Mountain/Rock

Ultar II

 
Ultar II

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Northern Areas, Pakistan, Asia

Lat/Lon: 36.39185°N / 74.71604°E

Object Title: Ultar II

County: Hunza

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

Elevation: 24239 ft / 7388 m

 

Page By: BigLee

Created/Edited: Mar 22, 2006 / Mar 25, 2009

Object ID: 182712

Hits: 14558 

Page Score: 85.87%  - 21 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

Ultar II (also known as Ultar, Ultar Sar, and Bojohagur Duanasir II) is the most south-easterly major peak of the Batura Muztagh, which constitutes the western end of the main Karakoram crest. The mountain lies on the border between the district of Hunza to the south and Gojal to the north. While not being the highest peak in the Batura Muztagh it is one of the most impressive due to its elevated position above the Hunza Valley and also because of the mountain’s shear steepness. Ultar II is the main peak of the two summit massif of Bojohagur Duanasir. The other summit is Ultar I or North (also sometimes called Ultar West, also known as Bojohagur Duanasir), which is marginally lower at 7329m. The lower peak is actually northwest of the main peak explaining the name discrepancy. It can only be assumed that whoever named the higher peak the no. 2 peak was unaware that it was marginally higher or viewed the massif from the SW and simply named the peaks from left to right. The main summit is believed by local myth to be where a fairy queen once lived in a crystal palace.
 
Ultar Sar
Ultar II

Ultar II is a difficult and dangerous mountain to climb with significant avalanche risk. Between 1986 and 1996 there were more than 15 expeditions to the mountain from six or seven countries. This is an unusually high amount for a Karakoram peak of this size and difficulty. Despite the high volume of attempts there was no summit until 1996 with only a significant number of fatalities to show for their efforts. The majority of attempts on the mountain were made from the south and west sides with the long south ridge being the most popular. Attemepts have also been made from the north but have largely been futile due to the significant objective danger. The Western peak had been previously climbed in 1984 by three Japanese climbers.

1996 bought not one but two successful ascents of the mountain via different routes. The first ascent was made by Akito Yamazaki and Kiyoshi Matsuoka from the Japan Alpine Club Tokai Expedition. The pair climbed the southwest side of the mountain via the avalanche prone Ultar Glacier in an almost alpine-style fixing 450m of ropes on the lower half of the ascent and using a few fixed ropes from previous expeditions higher up. Having left advanced base camp on 3rd July they reached the summit on the 11th. The eight day ascent was largely due to the mountain’s technical difficulties than anything else. Having summited, the pair’s luck took a turn for the worse. While descending the following day the weather deteriorated and the pair was forced to bivouac in their tent at 6000m for the next five nights with hardly any food or water. On the 17th the weather finally improved and they continued their descent and reached advanced base camp on the 19th – sixteen days after first leaving it. The following day Yamazaki began to feel sick with violent stomach ache. Next day his condition worsened and he sadly died at 11pm before a helicopter could evacuate him. Matsuoka’s fate was no better as he died only a year later while attempting the nearby rock spire of Bubuliomoting (Lady Finger). Yamazaki was only 28 when he climbed Ultar, Matsuoka only 24. The Japanese Alpine Journal Report is available here.
 
Avalanche!
Avalanche down the Ultar Glacier on the SW Face

The second ascent was made by a Japan Kathmandu Club Expedition via the south ridge on 31st July 1996. The climbers fixed 4000m of rope from 5200m to 7300m. Leader Ken Takahashi along with four other climbers Masayuki Ando, Ryushi Hoshino, Waltaru Saito and Nobuo Tsutsumi made the summit. This was Ken Takahashi’s third attempt on the mountain after failed attempts in 1986 and 1993.

The Southeast Pillar (or Hidden Pillar) of Ultar rises 3000m and has been referred to as the ‘Walker Spur of the Karakoram’ by some. The crux is most likely the rock barrier around 7000m however nobody has attempted the upper half of the route. To date there have been two attempts (that I am aware of), both of which have ended in failure relatively low down the route. A third attempt is due in 2007 by Colin Haley and Jed Brown.

With current Ministry of Tourism promotions Ultar is comparatively very cheap to climb at present as are all peaks in the Batura Muztagh.


View from Karakoram Highway from between the villages of Passu and Gulmit.

Climbing History

Year

Climbing Party

Outcome

1985

Kiki de Pablos and Jose Luis Zaloaga (Spain)

Reconnoitred southern aspect of Ultar and Bojohaghur Duanasir. After three days of exploration they decided there were too many falling stones, seracs and avalanches. They did climb a 5900m peak that descends to the SW of Bojohaghur Duanasir.

1986

Japanese-Pakistani-American expedition led by Toshio Narita

North face attempt from the Gulkin glacier. Established camp 1 (3900m) above BC (3150m) but this was avalanched and the team decided to retreat and try the south face. 5500m was reached but the attempt was halted as the route was considered too dangerous due to falling stones and ice.

1990

Japanese expedition led by Tsuneo Hasegawa

Reached 7020 on south ridge but were halted by deteriorating weather and threatened frostbite.

1991

British-American expedition

Victor Saunders (British) & Steve Sustad (American) Attempted slating route across the SE Face starting low down on the Cunus Glacier and heading for upper section of east ridge. Broken crampon and broken ice axe forced a retreat after 3 days.

Mick Fowler & Crag Jones (both British) attempted south ridge. Climbed Alpine style. Reached a high point of 6500m but then descended due to bad weather. Previously the pair had made the first ascent of Hunza peak (6200m).

1991

Japanese expedition led by Tsuneo Hasagawa

Attempted south ridge (as in 1990). Ascended to camp IV (6500m). Attempted to descend to camp 1 (4900m) for a rest but were avalanched from 5350m to 4000m to their deaths.

1992

3 man Japanese team led by Toshio Narita

Attempted SE Pillar from Ahmed Abad Glacier. Reached high point of 5400m but were forced to descend as felt the route was unclimbable in the poor conditions and bad weather.

1993

Norwegian team

Attempted route from Hassanabad Glacier via east face & south ridge. Bad weather throughout. High point of 5800m reached on east face.

1993

British/American expedition led by Julien Freeman-Attwood

First attempted a route on the north side but retreated from a high point of 4600m due to the icefall being too broken to continue. Attempted a route on the SE pillar from the Sikardu Glacier. Ed Webster and Julien Freeman-Attwood, having linked up with the Saunders/Sustad traverse after 400m, backed off the route due to avalanche risk. Caradoc Jones and Stephen Read then attempted the same line and Sustad and Saunders had tried previously but gave up amid hard black ice and rock fall. Freeman-Attwood and Webster then attempted a new route from the Sikardu glacier to the East ridge. Havng gained the East ridge at 6000m they concluded that they had little chance of making a successful ascent and descended.

1993

Japanese Expedition led by Ken Takahashi

Attempted the entire south ridge starting from the village of Altit near to Karimabad. Yozoburo Kurosaki fell to his death at 6900m when a damaged fixed rope parted and the expedition was abandoned.

1995

Akito Yamazaki and Kiyoshi Matsuoka, Japan Alpine Club Tokai Expedition

First ascent of the SW face fixing only 450m of rope on route. Reached summit 8 days after leaving ABC. Descent took another 8 days to descend due to bad weather. Yamazaki died soon after following violent stomach ache.

1995

5 member Japan Kathmandu Club Expedition led by Ken Takahashi

First ascent of the south ridge. Siege style with 4000m of fixed rope.

2005

Yannick Graziani & Christian Trommsdorff (French)

Attempted SE Pillar from the Gurpi Cwm in October reaching a point halfway up the pillar just below 6000m (a 1600m ascent). Managed two smaller peaks, one being 5480m, Alpine TD+

2007 Colin Haley & Jed Brown Declined to attempt the SW (Hidden) Pillar

Getting There

 
Karakoram Highway Near Hunza Valley, Northern Areas of Pakistan
Ultar from the KKH

Whichever way you approach Ultar II the walking distance is relatively short by Karakoram standards due to the mountain’s close proximity to the Karakoram highway. Private Jeeps are also easy to arrange in Gilgit, Karimabad and Gulmit although most are short wheel base. Just ask around and a driver will soon appear.

The South-West Side


From the south Ultar meadow (3270m) can be reached from Karimabad in around three hours via the steep, narrow Ultar valley. The base camp usually placed on the Ultar Glacier at around the same height. Even if you are not a climber Ultar Meadow is a lovely spot to trek to with rewarding views of the Ultar massif as well as Hunza Peak (6270m) and the rock spire of Bubli Motin (6000m). Even better views can also be had from Hon pass (4257m) above Ultar Meadow. The trek to Ultar Meadow isn’t the easiest as the ‘trail’ is becoming increasingly eroded. The granite walls that line the way are incidentally some of the most easily accessible quality rock in the Karakoram.
Bojohaghur Duansir & Ultar Sar from above Ultar Meadow
Ultar I (left, 7329m) and Ultar II (right, 7388m)

Karimabad is easy to reach. From Gilgit there are regular Hi-Ace minivans that depart from the main station once full. The vehicles are a bit of an uncomfortable ride as four people are packed in each row although if you are a woman or with a woman then you might get the front seat which is better. You can usually put a fair amount of gear on the roof for a small extra charge. Returning, the only public vehicles that depart Karimabad for Gilgit leave early with the last one around 7am. After that, head down to Aliabad and catch a lift there. There is no transport direct to Karimabad from the north so get off on the KKH at the Karimabad turn-off and wait for a vehicle.
 
Lady Finger (left) & Hunza Peak (right)
Nearby Bubuliomoting (Lady Finger) (left, 6000m) & Hunza Peak (right, 6270m) from Ultar Meadow
 
South face of Diran Peak (7257m) from Ultar Meadow
Diran 7300m) from Ultar Meadow

The South-East Side


The south-East side of Ultar is accessed via the Gurpi Glacier.

The North Side


Those wishing to see why nobody has tried the north face can reach it via the Gulmit glacier from the village of Gulmit on the Karakoram Highway. Gulmit is just as easy to reach as Karimabad due to Hi-Aces regularly departing Gilgit for Sost and Passu further north throughout the day until about 4pm.

Broader information on reaching the Karakoram is available on my Karakoram page.

Red Tape

 
Ultar I (left, 7329m) & Ultar II (right, 7388m) above the Ultar Glacier
Ultar I & II above the Ultar Glacier

Royalty Fees


The Ministry of Tourism has decided to maintain the 10% reduction in mountaineering royalty fees for peaks above 6500m in the Gilgit region (excluding Spantik) during 2009 in an attempt to attract more expeditions to the Karakoram. Ultar II falls falin the boundries of the Gilgit region.

Royalties per expedition are based on a party of 7. Persons additional to this number will be subject to an additional royalty fee.

Note: These rates are only for the Gilgit region of the Karakoram which includes Hunza and Gojal (Upper Hunza).

Royalties for other areas of the Karakoram are 50% the normal rate. See the Karakoram page which I am currently building for details...

No Liaison Officer is currently required for the Gilgit region!

This makes the mountain very cheap to climb since it is not in a restricted zone.

Current royalties are listed below for the Gilgit Region.

Elevation Normal Fee Fee for 2009
Expedition Royalty Additional royalty per person Expedition Royalty Additional royalty per person
7501 - 8000m $4000 $500 $400 $50
7001 - 7500m $2500 $400 $250 $40
6501 - 7000m $1400 $200 $140 $10
Up to 6500m $1400 $200 No fee No fee

Peak royalties are only 5% the normal rate for a winter attempt although this is only for the masocists.

Visas

 
Ultar II (7388m) at sunrise
Ultar II at sunrise from Ultar Meadow

A valid visa is required. Visas are NOT issued at the airport and must be obtained prior to arrival. Some embassies such as those in Central Asia are reluctant to issue visas and advise you to obtain them from your home country. A single-entry tourist visa is valid for 3 months from the date of arrival in pakistan and for 6 months from the date of issue. Some visas are only valid for 3 months from the date of issue so check if necessary when applying. Visa prices vary. Americans pay the most for their visa whilst Japanese get theirs free! Visa extensions and reentry stamps used to almost impossible to obtain however the process has become remarkably easier in the last few years. Gilgit DC is a good place to try.

Camping & Accomodation

 
Rakaposhi (7788m) from Karimabad
The Hunza Valley

The only place where there is a charge to camp is within a stone wall perimeter at Ultar Meadow where there are a number of level spots for camping. I don’t know the exact charge however it will be cheap. Cooked food is also available at a hut here in the summer months. Clear water is available nearby although water purification is recommended due to grazing sheep.
 
Bojahagur Duanasir II (7329m) rising above Karimabad
The Ultar Massif above Karimabad

Karimabad has great hill top views and offers a better choice of accommodation than Aliabad below on the Karakoram Highway. In my experience the cheaper guesthouses close to a spot called ‘Zero Point’ are actually nicer places to stay than the midrange places which are geared more towards down-country Pakistani’s rather than foreigner. There are also a couple of pricy hotels for those who like the comforts of home. It’s quite easy to buy enough food for an expedition here and canisters for stoves can also be bought here. It’s even possible to get a beer in Karimabad but I’d strongly advice against the tinned pork for sale in some of the shops. This is what it looks like!

Gulmit also has plenty of accommodation although it is not as budget friendly as Passu further north, or for that matter as nice as Passu. The local shops also do not have as good a range of food as Karimabad or Gilgit so bring food from Gilgit if you are travelling south. If you are just planning to spend a night under the north face then Gulmit’ shops will suffice.

When to Climb

 
Ultar I (left, 7329m) & Ultar II (right, 7388m) from Ultar Meadow
Ultar I & II above the Ultar Glacier

The mountaineering season runs from June to September with July and August being the most popular months to climb in Pakistan. Outside these months snow can be problematic at high altitude. Bad weather can hit anytime of the year. It's currently very cheap to attempt Ultar II in winter however, considering how avalanche-prone the mountain is, this would be a very bold attempt to say the least!

Maps

 
(L-R) Lady Finger (6000m), Hunza Peak (6270m), Ultar I (7329m) and Ultar II (7388m) from the SW
(L-R) Bubuliomoting( Lady Finger) (6000m), Hunza Peak (6270m), Ultar I (7329m) and Ultar II (7388m) from the SW

The best map by far that covers this peak is the Deutschen Alpenverein (DAV) topographic map of Hunza-Karakoram. Its scale is 1:100,000.

There is also an excellent 1:100,000 orographical Polish map of the Batura Muztagh that is worth tracking down.

Sheet 1 of the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research Karakoram 1:250,000 Orographical Sketch Maps shows Ultar Sar. Despite the large scale these maps are popular for the Karakoram due to their general accuracy and extensive coverage of the entire range.

External Links

First Ascent Report from Japanese Alpine Journal

My Hunza valley album is available here

Jed Brown & Colin Haley's Hidden Pillar attempt - Trip report

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-13 of 13    
quivername correction

quiver

Hasn't voted

One of the first summiters' name is wrong. "Kiysh Matsuka" should read "Kiyoshi Matsuoka".
Posted Nov 11, 2006 7:40 am
aaporikcorrection

aaporik

Hasn't voted

Guiver, thanks for correction.
Posted Nov 13, 2006 1:35 am
quiverRe: correction

quiver

Hasn't voted

OK, let me point out 2 other typos:

"Tsuneo Hasagawa" -> "Tsuneo Hasegawa"

"Slato Wataru" -> "Saito Wataru"



And as for this part:

> the Japan Kathmandu Club, Tsutsumi Nobuo, Ando Masayuki, Slato Wataru and Hoshino Ryushi



Tsutsumi, Ando, Slato(Saito) and Hoshino are all family names, so switching the order of family and given names will make your article more consistent.



Anyway, Ultar is so closely related to the Japanese. Thanks for your great work, aaporik!



Posted Nov 23, 2006 9:45 am
CoraxContradictions

Corax

Voted 10/10

There are a lot of contradictions on the page and it's obvious it's a cut and paste job.



Here's one example:



The 7,388m Ultar Massif, one of the highest distinctive unclimbed summits in the world, has been attempted over the last 10 years by approximately 15 expeditions, mainly of Japanese origin.



On the 21st of July (one report states the 11th) Akito Yamazaki and Kiyoshi Matsuoka reached the summit in an Alpine style push.




Please correct the info.



This is the reason for my low vote.
Posted Jan 3, 2007 8:18 pm
BigLeeRe: Contradictions

BigLee

Hasn't voted

Adopted and sorted! Like you say, former page was a complete cut and paste job - hence the contradictions.
Posted Feb 26, 2007 6:01 pm
CoraxRe: Contradictions

Corax

Voted 10/10

You should adopt some more of the Pakistani pages, if you have the time.

Masherbrum is another junk page, where the maintainer has made the same kind of cut and paste job. Some info is cut from my pages, but he hasn't even bothered to make the links active.

Great work on the Ultar II page.
Posted Feb 26, 2007 6:40 pm
BigLeeRe: Contradictions

BigLee

Hasn't voted

Yeah, Ultar is a dangerous mountain and it's quite irresponsible to pretend you know what you are talking about by copy and pasting from other pages then guessing the rest.

I probably will adopt Masherbrum at some point. I've got absolutely no photos of the mountain though due to bad weather when I was on the Baltoro Glacier. Don't know if you have any?
Posted Feb 26, 2007 6:53 pm
CoraxRe: Contradictions

Corax

Voted 10/10

Don't know if you have any?



I have some, but I think they are quite bad. I also had bad weather most of the time when passing the peak. I'll have a look later.
Posted Feb 26, 2007 8:58 pm
Damien GildeaAttempts

Damien Gildea

Hasn't voted

Ultar has been attempted since 96. The French, Graziani and Trommsdorf, who have done some of the most significant superalpinism of recent years, attempted the Hidden Pillar. Likewise infamous Austrian Thomas Bubendorfer went to do it. The Hidden Pillar of Ultar is one of the great unclimbed objectives in world alpinism, just not as well publicised as others. A 3500m high arete, one day from the road. Jed Brown and Colin Haley have a Mugs Stump Grant to go there this year.



D
Posted Feb 28, 2007 12:09 am
BigLeeRe: Attempts

BigLee

Hasn't voted

Yeah, I've heard about the hidden pillar of Ultar and the French. Cheers for that. I'll update in the next few days. I'm back in the UK in a couple of weeks and will have a proper search in the Sheffield Mountain library for info then. Cheers.
Posted Feb 28, 2007 8:26 am
Damien GildeaBubuli's Throne

Damien Gildea

Hasn't voted

Big,

In the Getting There bit you may want to note that Lady Finger and Bubulimoting are the same thing. Also, there was a piece somewhere not so long ago about the spelling of Bubulimoting, but I can't remember where it was, sorry. The peak is meant to be the throne of Princess Bubuli, who waited for her prince to come back and marry her but he never did. Word is he got an IT job in an Indian call-centre. Anyway, there are various spellings but supposedly Bubuliomoting is the most correct. I used to call it Bubliomotin, so that was wrong too. I tried the NW face in 95 & 96 but got not very high. In 2001 in Karimabad I gave some Spanish guys some beta on the route and one of them was then killed on it by rockfall a week later.
Posted Feb 28, 2007 12:29 am
BigLeeRe: Bubuli's Throne

BigLee

Hasn't voted

Thanks, I took the spelling off the Swiss map which I should have known would be wrong! I noticed the other week that the Swiss map has GIV as GVI!
Posted Feb 28, 2007 8:28 am
Damien GildeaTypo - SE

Damien Gildea

Hasn't voted

2007 - Brown/Haley. The Pillar is the SE, not SW.
Posted Feb 14, 2008 11:10 pm

Viewing: 1-13 of 13    

Images