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with Stefan Nestler

Japanese climbers land a coup on Shispare

Kazuya Hiraide (l.) and Kenro Nakajima

Put the eight-thousander glasses aside! At an insignificantly lower mountain in the west of the Karakoram in Pakistan, two Japanese climbers succeeded an extraordinary ascent on 22 August. According to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima climbed for the first time via the Northeast Face of the 7611-meter-high Shispare. In four days, the two Japanese climbed in Alpine style through the 2700-meter-high wall to the summit and descended via the Northeast Ridge, it said.

Dramatic rescue operation

New Japanese route on Shispare

Especially Hiraide is a well-known figure in the scene. For their first ascent of the Southeast Face of the 7756-meter-high Kamet in India in 2008, he and his compatriot Kei Taniguchi were awarded the Piolet d’Or. Taniguchi was the first woman to receive the “Oscar of the climbers”. Aged 43, she fell to death on a Japanese mountain at the end of 2015.

With regard to Hiraide, some will also recall a dramatic rescue operation in fall 2010 on the 6812-meter-high Ama Dablam in the Khumbu area: After having opened a new route through the North Face, the Japanese and the German climber David Göttler had gotten into trouble on the North Ridge and had asked for a helicopter rescue. After Göttler had been safely brought into the valley, the helicopter took off again to take Hiraide on board. It touched the ridge and crashed, the two pilots died. The Japanese was saved a day later by another helicopter crew.

Four times on the top of Everest

On 25 May 2017, exactly on his 38th birthday, Hiraide reached  as a cameraman of a Japanese expedition the summit of Mount Everest. It was for the fourth time in his career.  He had tackled the Northeast Face of Shispare for the first time in 2007, In 2012 and 2013, Hiraide had tried to climb via the Southwest Face of the mountain. Now he was rewarded for his tenacity.

Death after first ascent

Shispare (rear)

The shapely Shispare is located in the Hunza Valley and is a real eye-catcher. The mountain was first climbed on 21 July 1974 by a Polish-German expedition via the Northeast Ridge. Among the seven successful climbers was Leszek Cichy, who – in 1980 – succeeded the first winter ascent of Everest along with Krzysztof Wielicki, and the two Germans Hubert Bleicher and Herbert Oberhofer. The two last mentioned climbers made two years later also the first ascent of the nearby 7795-meter-high Batura Sar. The success on Shispare in 1974 was overshadowed by a death: During the summit attempt of a second group, the German climber Heinz Borchers was caught by an avalanche and buried in a crevasse. He remained missing.


1. September 2017 | 16:37