**UPDATE FROM TOM LIVINGSTONE**
“We are all mega psyched, all safe and back after 7 days on the mountain. We acclimatised on 2 trips up to 6300m. Our route is 2400m, ED+. We climbed moderate mixed pitches moving together. There were many pitches of rotten or steep ice, some mixed, some ‘classic alpine bulls***’ terrain, and some poor bivis chopped into cornices/seracs/mushrooms.
It was a great experience over 7 days, especially considering the tragic events surrounding the Russian team before our ascent. That didn’t make us fully psyched for trying the full North Ridge. Plus Latok I hadn’t been climbed from this North side. It seemed like the most logical and easiest way (to climb the ridge to ¾ height and then to traverse to the right to reach the summit).”
Mountain Equipment Pro Partner Tom Livingstone [UK] has made a long awaited first ascent of Latok I [7145m] from the North over 7 days with Ales Cesen and Luka Strazar [Slovenia]. They reached the summit via the West Col. One of the most coveted unclimbed lines in the world it had reached near mythical status, repelling around 30 teams consisting of many of the best alpinists of their day.
The 2500m North Ridge of Latok I has been dubbed the ‘Walker Spur of the Pakistan Karakaorum’ but until recently few had got close to the c.7000m high point reached on the first ever attempt in 1978 by Jim Donini, Michael Kennedy, George and Jeff Lowe. Amongst the strongest alpinists of their time they climbed around 100 pitches before being forced down by illness and poor weather. Writing in ‘Alpinist’ Jeff Lowe subsequently described the North Ridge as ‘unfinished business from the last generation’.
The list of subsequent attempts since reads like a ‘who’s who’ of alpinism, but it took until last year for Alexander Gukov and his team to get close to the 1978 highpoint. Gukov was back this year with fellow Russian Sergei Glazunov, arriving in base camp ahead of Tom, Ales and Luka. Tragically Glazunov was killed whilst retreating in bad weather from high on the mountain and Gukov was only rescued by Pakistani Army helicopter after a harrowing 6 days trapped on the mountain without food or water.
The summit of Latok I had only previously been reached once by a Japanese team climbing from the south side in 1979.
Further details to follow as we hear more from Tom.
Featured Kit from the Expedition
As well as prototypes from the AW18 Collection, including the new Kinesis Jacket and Kinesis Pants, Tom Livingstone’s Latok I first ascent kit included:
K7 Jacket – the perfect solution for alpinists pushing hard on remote peaks
Super Couloir Gloves – our finest cold weather mountaineering glove
Direkt Gloves – a super precise Soft Shell climbing glove
About Tom Livingstone
Tom has a fondness for trad, winter and alpine climbing. He’s psyched for big and inspiring mountain routes around the world, and devotes himself entirely to this way of life. He treasures the raw emotions at the end of a hard onsight, the pain of the hot aches and the flash of magic as the sun sets in the mountains.
He enjoys everything associated with Scottish winter climbing and alpinism – even if it’s retrospectively – and is determined to follow his ambitions. In summer he longs for pumpy trad routes high above the sea or on granite alpine spires. In winter he searches for sinker hooks at the end of a thin sequence, and the glow of the headtorch as night draws in. Tom’s recent list of recent Alpine ascents his staggering, and includes Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy, the Lesueur route (ED2, all free) on the Dru, the Frendo Spur in winter in a day (which has been managed very few times), and the North Face of Mount Alberta. He’s no slouch at trad either, with ascents up to E9.
Tom is a widely published writer and is based in North Wales, where he enjoys hanging out at Gogarth and the Pass.
A self-confessed gear geek, Tom has been influential in the design of some our new products and in making tweaks to existing designs for upcoming seasons. Whether it’s adding 1 cm of adjustment to a cuff or reinforcing one small area of a trouser, Tom will let us know what he thinks.