Americans Hailed for Ascending World’s 2nd Highest Unclimbed Mountain

Mountain Hardwear Athlete Freddie Wilkinson and climbers Mark Richey and Steve Swenson shared their story of the first ascent of Saser Kangri II in Eastern Karakoram at the American Alpine Club Benefit Dinner in Boston in early March. At 24,665 feet/7,518 meters high, this was the second-highest unclimbed mountain in the world.

The Saser Kangri II ascent received a nomination for the prestigious Piolet d’Or (French for “The Golden Ice Axe”), an international award honoring the year’s most notable alpine-style ascents. Wilkinson’s team’s first ascent of Saser Kangri II via the steep 1,700-meter southwest face in August 2011 is one of six ascents nominated for the award and one of only two nominations for American climbers this year. The award ceremony is March 21-24 in Chamonix, France.

During their expedition, the team created a short documentary film, The Old Breed, that combines action footage at home and on the climb with revealing interviews, compelling imagery, and an original score to tell the story of the team’s success and subsequent fight for survival.

“The Old Breed is really about partnership and the ‘explorer gene,’ that human trait that makes us all want to go out into the wilderness and test our limits,” said Wilkinson.


Jeff Blumenfeld is the founder, publisher and editor of Expedition News, a monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online and by mail to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts.

Used by permission of Expedition News

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