It’s been climbed before, but not by this route.
England are World Champions having reached the summit via a double assault of the Green|Yellow Band, an airy and exposed crossing of the Protean Ridge, an enforced bivouac on the gale-swept Pakistan Col, a careful, though comparatively straightforward crossing of the Sri Lankan Ice Field and finally the discovery of a route that ‘would go’ up the rock face known as the Indian Steps.
The summit was obtained at 3.15 BST Saturday 12th August 2011, the technical climbing of the final crux having fallen to the intrepid James Anderson brought up on the smooth holds and deep recesses of his native Pennine gritstone.
However, Expedition Leader, Andrew Strauss, was quick to acknowledged by a hastily erected satellite phone that it had been a team effort, citing especially the logistical support masterminded by Andy Flower and his team at Base Camp.
“We were never short of what we needed at any stage of the climb,” he maintained.
Technique, power, stamina, teamwork, courage and a GSOH have all been in abundance to make their ascent of this peak possible.
Now the summit team are in the ‘Death Zone’. Their ambition is to remain there for the foreseeable future, but the objectives ahead are not to be underestimated.
Winter climbing turns the Pakistan Col, the Sri Lankan Ice Field and the Indian Steps into a nightmare of crevasses, ice towers and unexpected avalanches all demanding very different techniques to those used this summer.
“We go on from here,” said the modest Strauss.
Asked why he did it, he replied, “Because it is there.”