Translations allowed

The Lure of the Unclimbed

Reflecting on risk and partnership in Pakistan.

It was 3 a. m., and I was lying in a three-person sleeping bag with Chantel and Jason’s legs pressing on my hips. The moon and stars illuminated our yellow Simond tent, just enough to make out their heads poking out from the sleeping bag at the other end.

Chantel began to read our weather forecast from inReach®. Her voice sounded tired. Another optimistic weeklong high-pressure system had dwindled into unsettled snow and high winds. Jason unzipped the tent and stuck his head out, noticing a cloud capping the upper part of the mountain.

One year earlier, in September 2018, Chantel Astorga, my longtime climbing partner, had sent me and my husband, Jason Thompson, a photo of the Pumari Chhish massif in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan and asked if we wanted to plan a trip there.

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