A report about this year’s MACC Fund recipients.

In 1998 Peter Thompson stood alone high above the Batura glacier in Pakistan. He was making a bold solo attempt on the still unclimbed central peak of Beka Brakai Chhok (6882m). This was not to be, but from his high point he could see an elegant, unclimbed ridge curving gracefully up to the summit of 6952m Sani Pakush. It evidently made an impression on him, because in June, 21 years later, he will return, accompanied this time by Phil De-Beger, and supported by a Montane Alpine Club Climbing Fund (MACC Fund) grant, to attempt that line and thus make the second ascent of Sani Pakush.

The Pakistan Karakoram is the venue for another of this year’s MACC Funded supported expeditions. In a trip deferred from last year Lee Harrison and team will travel to the Ghidims Valley to attempt some unclimbed 6000ers .

Still in the Pakistan, but only just, 7041m Link Sar remains unclimbed despite 15 attempts. Alpine Club member Graham Zimmerman, along with fellow young gun Cedar Wright and American Alpine Club stalwarts Mark Richey and Steve Swenson will try again this summer. Their approach along the Kondus Valley to the east of the peak lies very close to the militarised border with India so patient negotiations have been needed to get a permit. The team got to around 6000m on this easterly line in the poor summer of 2017 so have prior local experience to add to their vast general greater ranges experience.

Further north in Central Asia, in Kyrgystan, AC members Andrew Stratford and Emily Thompson will join an expedition exploring the mountains west of the Altyn-Daria valley of Western Zaalaisky and attempting first ascents on peaks of around 5000m.

Three MACC Fund trips are heading for Nepal. Over the last few years several Alpine Club teams have been exploring the remote far west of the country up near the Tibetan border. Part of the attraction of the area is that there is little trekking infrastructure and the approaches are long and unpredictable. The various AC trips have been sharing information with one another, and bringing some clarity to the somewhat confusing picture left by earlier explorers. Two MACC funded expeditions are heading to this area.

Emily Ward and Mark Bielby are returning for a re-match with 6037m Ardang in Humla in Nepal’s Wild West. In 2017 they found Ardang’s southern flanks to be dry and chossy, so this time they will be focussing on the icy north face.

And Derek Buckle, Drew Cook, Mike Fletcher, Lorna Earl, Steve Humphries and Nicholas King are heading to the southern arm of the Lachama Kola glacier to attempt the first ascent of PK 5822m and other peaks around the head of the glacier.

The more trodden Khumbu area still has many enticing objectives for exploratory climbers. Paul Ramsden and Jim Hall are hoping that the unclimbed north faces of the twin 6000m Kanchung peaks in the Khumbu will be icy in late October. These steep faces have been on lots of people’s hit lists for a while now, and it is surprising that they are still holding out.