Naysa Brakk

Naysa Brakk - the north ridge is the right hand skyline

Naysa Brakk means arrowhead tower. It’s a fitting name because that’s what the peak appears like. Or a pyramid; a symmetrical, three-dimensional triangle. Willy and I climbed the north ridge on the 25thof June. We left camp at first light, just after 4am. It took us 4 ½ hours to huff and puff our way up the gully to the notch where the route starts.

Willy making his way up to the base of Naysa Brakk

We wasted about an hour when Willy took my suggestion to find a detour around a spot where the gully bottlenecked and steepened to form a small waterfall. I had climbed up it; icy water running down my sleeves and soaking my pants took my breath away. I tried to climb quick as I could but it was trickier than it seemed from below. There was ice on the rocks and everything was slippery. I got to the

top and yelled down to willy to go around. But he couldn’t hear me too well and I was too winded to holler down any details. When he yelled back up to ask: “WHAAAT???” I just made some vaugh circular gesture with my arm and went to find a place to sit for a second. Willy disappeared…. for a while. He had angled to climbers’ right, up a low angled corner. But he got dead ended by a muddy chimney. I waited for some minutes – 20 maybe. Then I started to yell to figure where he’d gotten to. When I finally heard him reply, I realized he was in the next gully system over, and I climbed up to the top of the arrete that separated us. He was down there drying to creep his way up a sandy slab that would take him around and above the chimney that stood in his way. I was carrying the tag line, and eventually I threw that down to him and gave him a hip belay up to me. That little adventure probably cost us an hour.

Jake seconding the first pitch

We started climbing around 9am. A sharper ridge I’ve never seen. There were one or two face traverses that were exciting since the gear was a little tricky. Maybe the hardest moves were 5.10a – that’s what the Alpine Journal calls it. But there wasn’t much of that. Most of the route is really cool ridge climbing. The final 150m or so, on average, are not far off of horizontal. But the crest of the ridge itself is so sharp, that you just hand traverse the ridge with lots of air beneath you on both sides. I heard it compared to Mathers’ Crest, but I haven’t climbed Mathers’ Crest so I wouldn’t know. I just know that if the north ridge of Naysa Brakk were to be in the Alps or the Sierras, there would be a queue on it all summer long.

We were on top around 2pm. Sweet views of K7, K6 and out to Mashabrum II.

Willy coming down the upper ridge

We simul down-climbed the upper section of the ridge, then made 4 or 5 30m rappels and one 70m rappel back to the notch.

It only took us an hour and forty minutes to descend the gully. It wasn’t long before we were back in camp sipping tea. That would be our only Karakorum summit.

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