The Latok group is a small cluster of dramatic rock peaks in the Panmah Muztagh, part of the central Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan. They lie just to the east of the Ogre group, dominated by Baintha Brakk. To the immediate south of the Latok group
lies the Baintha Lukpar Glacier, a small tributary of the Biafo Glacier, one of the main glaciers of the Karakoram. On the north side of the group lies the Choktoi Glacier. The group comprises four main summits, each listed here with its relative position in the group, elevation,and first ascent date:
- Latok I, north-central, 7,145 m, climbed 1979
- Latok II, west, 7,108 m, climbed 1977
- Latok III, east, 6,949 m, climbed 1979
- Latok IV, southeast, 6,456 m, climbed 1980
All of the summits are notable for their extreme technical difficulty, and they have been the scene of some of the hardest climbing done at high altitude anywhere in the world.
Latok I was first climbed in 1979 by a Japanese expedition led by Naoki Takada; the first summit party comprised Sin'e Matsumi, Tsuneo Shigehiro, Yu Watanabe, and they were followed three days later by Hideo Muto, Jun'ichi Oku, and Kota Endo. They started from the Baintha Lukpar Glacier and climbed a buttress to reach the East Ridge.
The steep North Ridge of Latok I, 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high, is a notorious unclimbed route: it was first attempted, and almost successfully climbed, by the noted American climbers Jim Donini, Michael Kennedy, George Lowe, and Jeff Lowe. The lightweight style of this climb was widely admired, despite the lack of a summit. Many unsuccessful attempts have followed.
Latok II saw its first ascent in 1977, by an Italian group led by Arturo Bergameschi. (This was the first successful ascent in the group.) They climbed the southeast face of the peak, and E. Alimonta, T. Mase, and R. Valentini made the summit.
A notable recent ascent of Latok II came in 1997, when a very strong team composed of Alexander Huber, Thomas Huber, Toni Gutsch, and Conrad Anker climbed the sheer West Face of the peak. They described this aptly as putting "El Capitan on top of Denali": a 1,000 m (3,280 ft) vertical rock wall with a base at 6,100 m (20,000 ft) elevation. The total vertical for the climb was 2,200 m (7,200 ft).
The first ascent of Latok III came in 1979, when a Japanese team under the leadership of Yoji Teranishi climbed the Southwest Ridge route. They climbed the Southwest Ridge, and the summit party were Teranishi, Kazushige Takami, and Sakae Mori. The second ascent, via the same route, came in 1988, by an Italian party. This was in fact the first repeat ascent of any peak in the group.
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