Minaret Pass

10 Aug 2016 13:20 - 10 Aug 2016 13:22 #69447 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Minaret Pass
Excuse the poor quality - this is heavily zoomed in from far below, but here's the sand crux:


It looks tame in the photo due to the angle (I seem to recall covering about 170m for the last 100m vertical, so about average steepness for the top of any Berg pass. The big brown patch on the left is the bit that Hobbit decimated while trying to climb it (photo obviously taken before that happened). Andrew and myself walked up the ice in the middle and had to reach around the crumbly grass top to pull through.

To get a better idea of height (although, once again, very misleading) - here is immediately above the crux looking down:

To be clear - the danger of this pass has nothing to do with steepness. It is as standard a gradient on a Berg Pass as one will find. The crux, while made harder in ice and snow, was not very hard (in clear conditions, one would have grass to pull on, and the ground wouldn't be slippery). The danger of the pass is the poor quality crumbling rock and loose scree - a fact made easier, not harder, by the snow. I rate this pass is doable in the conditions we did it in, provided you have suitable gear for it (bearing in mind that Hobbit used an ice axe on the crux, and I pulled on a rope - Andrew only used the rope as a backup in case he slipped). Mike and I used proper hiking boots for this trip, mostly to help with kicking steps into the snow, while Andrew used his ice axe when his trail shoes weren't coping.

Ps. Looking forward to being back in trail shoes after wearing those clumsy boots again (La Sportiva Tibets).

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Last edit: 10 Aug 2016 13:22 by ghaznavid.

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11 Aug 2016 05:29 #69469 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Minaret Pass
I dont recall such a pronounced gully, so perhaps it has gotten worse. Did you find the straw stuffed man in day glow orange that the air-force used for training?

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11 Aug 2016 13:36 #69474 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Minaret Pass

Serious tribe wrote: Did you find the straw stuffed man in day glow orange that the air-force used for training?

We didn't, probably washed away in the years between our summits (or buried in the snow).

I rate it only takes one good storm to wash away a big section of a pass. Mashai Pass, for example, was quite different when I first did it in 2009 to what it is like today. Specifically the bit near the top where you cross the river. This erosion on Minaret Pass could have been very gradual or could have happened overnight - with how little this pass gets used, I would say we are unlikely to learn any time soon.

I fear that Thumb Pass might have gone the same way since Hobbit and I repeated it a few years back - there was a bad wash-away on that with only a narrow grassy side to use as a bypass. That grassy side bit could have easily washed away by now.

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19 Aug 2016 17:29 #69588 by SeriousTribe2
Replied by SeriousTribe2 on topic Minaret Pass
Flipping AWESOME pass !

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