The Kondus Big Wall Expedition
Forbidden Towers: Go here to
see the expedition's
feeds to the internet on MountainZone.com.
LANDER, WY - June 9, 2000 --
On June 10 a group of talented and determined
climbers will head to Pakistan to explore the Kondus Valley,
a region some fifty miles southeast of K2 in the Himalayan
Karakoram. This valley has been restricted to Westerners since
1982. Recently the Pakistani government opened this area,
allowing the Kondus Big Wall Expedition to gain access to
this pristine environment. The climbers include Jimmy Chin,
Dave Anderson, Steph Davis, and Brady Robinson. Their goal
is to establish new routes on the massive granite walls that
bracket this valley and to travel and climb in a manner that
minimizes their impact. In this way, they measure their sense
of accomplishment in terms of aesthetics as well as difficulty.
Perhaps most important, though, is the group's commitment
to develop their friendships and return safely.
The expedition is made possible by grants
from Polartec and AAC Lyman Spitzer, as well
as corporate sponsorship.
Chin, Anderson, and Robinson are instructors
at the National Outdoor Leadership School while
Davis is a climber sponsored by Patagonia.
Their partnership teams together years of experience,
tenacity, and hard work. Each has unique talents
and personality traits that strengthen the
Brady Robinson has climbed at various outposts
of the globe. He alternates between working
for NOLS and travelling to such locales
as Nepal, Pakistan, and Chile. Brady's
dedication to climbing is legendary. He
has been known to hang hoses from trees
in the wintertime in order to create miniature
ice climbs. There's always a way to train
in Brady's book. His efforts have paid
off and he was recently able to complete
two separate ascents of Fitzroy in Patagonia.
One of these ascents was via a challenging
new route on the North Pillar. Brady and
Jimmy Chin have joined forces before on
the 1999 Charakusa Climbing Expedition.
The two managed two different big wall
first ascents using only alpine techniques.
Jimmy Chin combines alpine big wall climbing
with backcountry skiing and photography.
Jimmy was instrumental in launching the
1999 Charakusa Climbing Expedition and
was awarded the prestigious AAC Mountaineering
Fellowship Grant as a result. Always understated,
Jimmy claims to have spent most of his
time in basecamp eating canned fruit during
this expedition. A warm sense of humor
belies his commitment to being a top-notch
climber and mountaineer. Jimmy plans to
guide for Geographic Expeditions and work
for NOLS after the expedition.
David Anderson brings a wealth of experience
to the expedition. He has been teaching
climbing and guiding for fourteen years
and has worked for NOLS for six. He is
best known around NOLS as a gifted climber
with a kind disposition. Befitting someone
with such character, Dave described teaching
and sharing the mountains with young people
as the greatest benefit of being a climber.
Dave's priorities are admirable. It would
have been just as easy for him to give
us an extensive tic list of difficult climbs
he has done. Dave's leadership and maturity
are great assets to the expedition.
Steph Davis is a world-renowned climber
who is just as comfortable in the deserts
of Utah as she is on alpine winter ascents.
She was awarded the Shipton/Tilman Award
for a previous trip to Pakistan where she
was able to complete a new route on the
Shipton Spire. This climb marked only the
third time that Shipton Spire had been
climbed. Davis is also known as the author
of several alpine big wall routes in areas
ranging from Patagonia to Kyrgystan. Steph
brings an indomitable spirit to go with
her considerable will. Whether it be run
out 30 pitches up or hanging out on a slack
line in basecamp, Steph's drive and talent
as a climber are obvious.
This expedition is particularly noteworthy
for NOLS and Patagonia, one of the sponsors.
It symbolizes the very reasons why we have
teamed up on the corporate level. These four
climbers are exercising precisely the same
kind of goals and values that we try to emulate.
Exploration of new possibilities, working together
towards a shared goal, and finding limits while
working in harmony with the environment are
exciting things for us. We will be wishing
them luck as we follow them on the web.
MountainZone.com will be handling the expedition's
feeds to the internet and the climbers'
progress can be tracked on their internet
more about the "Forbidden Towers Expedition" and
their first ascent of Tahir Tower in the Kondus.