That's Alex Fiksman behind me [lower left]. I had never climbed up anything even remotely like this before, but I was with two expert rock climbers who were incredibly encouraging.
Bobby Model had been all over the world doing climbing expeditions. He was part of the team that did the first free climb of the Trango Tower, which was a National Geographic story 11 years ago. Alex Fiksman is an astonishingly good mountain and safari guide. He's from the Ukraine, lived in New York City for a long time, and then went to Africa work as a guide.
I may have been climbing with the best guides, but none of us had ever done this route before. There was a lot of route finding to do. The rock can be a bit crumbly and treacherous, so we were really careful. —Contributing Editor Matthew Power