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First ski descent of swat’s highest peak in Pakistan

An international team of 3 skiers - Bine Žalohar, Tom Grant and Aaron Rolph, went on an expedition in Pakistan in early days of June. They not only completed a successful summit but were also the first ever to ski down of Falak Sar, which is the highest peak in Swat Valley, Pakistan. The team reached the altitude of 5963 meters, then skied all the way down to the base camp at 4200 meters. The trio said that despite Swat valley not being a popular destination for tourists, they met plenty of welcoming locals who befriended them right away.

International team completes first ski descent of Swat's highest peak in Pakistan - Falak Sar (5963m)

An international team based in Chamonix, France has completed the second successful summit and the first ever ski descent of Falak Sar, the highest mountain in the Swat Valley, Pakistan.

On the 9th of June, a team of three skiers from three different countries, skied from the summit of Falak Sar, the highest peak in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. It is the first known ski descent of the peak which is nearly 6000 m high. The team recorded a 40 m higher height than a previous New Zealand expedition. The newly measured altitude of 5963 m casts doubt on whether the previous team reached the true summit. A similar altitude was measured by The Pakistan expedition in 2019.

 “Putting our skis on just under 6000m and skiing off the summit was pretty special. The initial turns were over a steep no fall zone, before we reached a series of four rappels to overcome a 200m patch of ice, before skiing all the way back down to basecamp at 4200m," says Bine Žalohar.

The group planned to ski an aesthetic line on the north face, but unfortunately because of unsafe cornices on the summit, they decided to ski the west ridge which is same route they had climbed. “In our 15 days at basecamp, we expected to get more stable weather in June. Most days had some precipitation, and in the end, we only had a 2-day clear window. So, although this came early in the trip, I’m pleased we went for it,” says Tom Grant.

The remote Swat Valley has been labeled the Switzerland of Pakistan, but nonetheless the valley still receives very few international tourists. Until late 2007, Taliban forces occupied much of the district. However today, the area is considered safe.  “No doubt Pakistan has a complicated past, but the people are undoubtedly some of the most welcoming you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. Everyone we came across was curious, warm, and more than happy to share their culture and mountains with us,” says Aaron Rolph.

The team is very thankful for the amazing locals and their friendliness. They believe they owe a great deal of their success to their newfound friends and recommend a visit to the Swat region of Pakistan to anybody with a sense of adventure.

Photo credit: Aaron Rolph