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James Price’s ‘Call Of The Karakoram

by thesummiters.com
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James Price’s incredible journey through the Karakoram’s formidable Batura range was a feat that initially seemed almost implausible. A year ago, our conversation with Price uncovered a tale that demanded extensive details and visual proof—a young Brit taking on the immense challenge of the Baruta Wall all on his own.

A Photo of James Price
A Photo of James Price

Before his daring solo endeavor, Sebastien Carniato, a French climber, accompanied Price during the preparation phase, capturing glimpses of the adventure with a drone. The resulting documentary adds depth and perspective to this remarkable odyssey.

The audacity of it all remains staggering: at just 25 years old, Price embarked on an off-season expedition in September, aiming to conquer the entirety of the Batura Wall, a staggering 14 km stretch all above 7,000m in altitude. This ambitious endeavor encompassed summiting Batura Main, Passu Peak, and the uncharted Muchu Chhish, within a range spanning 40-50 km. However, the toll was evident when Price spoke to us from a hospital in France, recovering from severe frostbite sustained during the perilous attempt.

Despite his youth, Price is no stranger to extreme alpinism. His tenure in Chamonix saw him amass extensive experience in the Alps, conquering iconic North Faces such as the Eiger, Grandes Jorasses, and the Matterhorn—each solo.

The summer of 2021 witnessed Price pioneering solo routes on Maidon Sar’s northwest ridge and Passu North in the Karakoram. Stranded by the 2020 Covid lockdown in Hunza, he used the solitude to form deep connections with the local community, eventually collaborating on a project to mentor young Pakistani climbers.

Price adheres staunchly to a purist approach in his climbs: no porters, no external support, and no base camps. His expeditions commence from the nearest village, regardless of the considerable distance. Last year, for instance, Price set off from Passu, a staggering 75km away from the Batura range.

In preparation for his assault on the Batura Wall, Price claimed first ascents on neighboring peaks like Pheker Peak (5,465m) and achieved the inaugural traverse of Mirshikar Peak (5,464m). Subsequently, he ventured to the Batura Wall, where Carniato managed to capture drone footage while Price handled the filming himself. He successfully summited Passu Diar (7,284m) and Passu Shar (7,470m) before inclement weather disrupted his progress.

A Drone Shot of James Price by Sebastien Carniato
James Price’s ‘Call Of The Karakoram

The specifics of Price’s trials and eventual return, 18 days later, frostbitten but alive, unfold in the accompanying video.

Watch | Call Of The Karakoram

Undeterred by the challenges faced, Price has announced plans for another attempt at the Batura Wall next year, with Muchu Chhish looming as an integral part of the upcoming endeavor. As he expressed in a previous interview with ExplorersWeb, “My dream is to traverse the Batura Wall, and Muchu Chhish just happens to be along the route.”

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