2012 New Zealand Expedition to the Wakhan Corridor.

Off to Afghanistan again in 2012! Yipee!

Our objective is Rahozon Zom (6535m), a mountain which lies on the Afghan/ Pakistan border and has had one ascent in 1969 by a team of Austrians via the Chitral Valley in Pakitan. It has never been climbed from the Afghan side. We have no information of the mountain other than a small grainy photo taken in 1976 from a Polish team who attempt the NE Ridge but turned back due to “serious mixed climbing.” The whole deal is a big unknown and very exciting. We leave New Zealand on the 6th July.

This is the east side of the mountain according to Google Earth:

As yet we are not sure which side we are going to but it will probably end up the side we are most likely to succeed on!

The Climbing Team:

Is Paul Knott: Expeditioner extraordinaire, with an impressive repertoire of climbing in Central Asia, North Africa, Alaska and Canada.

And me:

The Base Camp/Trekking Team is:

Mary Rose Fowlie: Who has an terrific past record as a climber.

And my brother Bill Byrch, who traversed from Arthurs Pass to Mt Cook in 1686 and once did a John Entwhistle Basic Mountaineering Course with the CMC. Bill wants to be able to say, when people ask him what he did with his holiday, that he went to Afghanistan rather than the Gold Coast. Bill runs the family farm in North Canterbury and is an aerial top dressing pilot.

Here are some details of our expedition:


Rahozon Zom lies between the upper Eshan and Qala Panja Glaciers, in the middle reaches of the Wakhan Corridor. The mountain was first climbed in 1969 from the Pakistan side by an Austrian team via the South Ridge. It has had one attempt from Afghanistan, by a Polish team who attempted the North East Ridge in 1976 but turned back citing “very serious difficulties on ice and mixed terrain.” There is an account of this expedition in the Polish Publication: Taternik, Edition 1. 1979.

Pat and Paul wish to make the second ascent of the mountain via the unclimbed North East Ridge or the West Face. This will take them into a glacial area that has not had a visit since the mid 1970’s. The will make an alpine style ascent. They expect the ascent to take them 4/5 days and the descent two days.

There is very little recorded about Rahozon Zom. This in itself adds to the allure of the peak, giving the undertaking the strong exploratory ethic the climbers are seeking. The team can only find one photo, taken by the 1976 Polish team.

Bill and Mary Rose will come to Basecamp and make glacial excursions and climb some of the lower peaks.