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History Made as the North Ridge of Latok I is Climbed

Latok I North Ridge Photo Wikicommons

The first ascent of the North Ridge of Latok I has finally been made after decades of the world’s top climbers attempting it.

The 7,145-metre peak’s massive ridge had reached a mythical status as over 30 teams composed of the best climbers hadn’t been able to reach the top.

The three climbers to reach the summit were British climber Tom Livingstone and Slovenians Luka Strazar and Ales Cesen who spent seven days to reach the top of the ridge and the summit via the West Col.

The first attempt on the North Ridge was in 1978 by Jim Donini, Michael Kennedy, George Lowe and Jeff Lowe. They made it within a few pitches of the summit before Jeff became sick and they had to make over 100 rappels.

Camp/Cassin broke the news on Facebook on Aug. 12 with a message here that read: Amazing news from Karakoram! After dozens of attempts since 1978, the “impossible” Latok I (7,145 m) was finally climbed from north by our Luka Stražar together with Aleš Česen and Tom Livingstone! We congratulate Luka and mates for this huge, astonishing achievement about which we still have little information. Alpinists will come back in Slovenia the next week: stay tuned for details and images!

The first ascent of Latok I was in 1979 by a team of six Japanese climbers who started on the Baintha Lukpar Glacier and ended on the top of the east ridge.

A few weeks ago, Sergey Glazunov fell to his death while attempting the first ascent with partner Alex Gukov. They made it to nearly 7,000 metres before the accident. Gukov waited on a small ledge for days until a helicopter rescued him.

Livingstone, Strazar and Cesen have all visited the Canadian Rockies over the past few years. Livingstone managed to make the third ascent of The House/Anderson VI M7+ WI5 with Uisdean Hawthorn. Strazar and Cesen visited during the ice season and climbed many of the grade-six lines.

This was Livingstone’s first trip to the Himalayas.

There will be more photos, videos and stories about this historical first ascent of one of the greatest alpine objectives of the past century over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.