6. NANDA DEVI EAST, 1991
  12. 11 ATM PARBAT, 1991
  14. BHRIGUPANTH, 1990






GURUDONGMAR LOOKS exquisite from far. But the dangerously steep walls of the mountain and the gigantic rocks have struck terror into the hearts of many a mountaineer. The Sikkimese, fed on various legends and myths associated with Gurudongmar and overawed by its prodigious presence, considered the peak sacred and inviolate. Gurudongmar, derives its name from the monastic tradition and literally means the 'incarnation of Guru Rimpoche'.

On their return from the Everest expedition in 1936 E. E. Shipton and E. G. H. Kempson made the first ascent of Gurudongmar by the west ridge. With Warren and E. H. L. Wigram, they left the main party on 1 July after crossing the Kongra la from Tibet into Sikkim and followed the valley running at the foot of the lovely north face of Kangchengyao (H.J. Vol. IX) before climbing Gurudongmar. The second attempt was made by the Assam Rifles in May 1980 and was reported to have been successful.1


  1. See H.J. Vol. 38, p. 156. — Ed.


While preparing for the expedition, a recce of this area was conducted prior to the monsoon in 1991, by the chief instructor, P. T. Bhutia along with two instructors Nima and Pasang. We benefitted immensely from the recce which added to our knowledge of the topography, the terrain, the snow condition, possible routes and camp sites. It was also revealed from the reconnaisance that there was no practical way to the summit from Donkya la. Any ascent from Donkya la must pass over about 300 m of rock pillar which was covered with treacherous masses of snow and ice and dangerously prone to avalanches. We had studied the weather condition of nearly five years in an effort to time the expedition correctly.

The expedition assembled at Gangtok on 3 September 1991. However in view of extensive landslides in north Sikkim the departure of the expedition from Gangtok was delayed by 10 days. Eventually the team left Gangtok only on 20 September. The route till Chungthang was obstructed at several places because of landslides due to heavy rainfall. We stayed at Thangu for two days to prepare for the final stages, and also to acclimatize.

Gurudongmar lake (foreground) and peak 6715m (right). Sanglaphu (6078 m) on left.

34. Gurudongmar lake (foreground) and peak 6715m (right). Sanglaphu (6078 m) on left. Note 1

Gurudongmar (6715 m) from C2.

35. Gurudongmar (6715 m) from C2.

Lobuje East (6119 m), east face.

36. Lobuje East (6119 m), east face. Note 2

The base camp was established after 3 hours of motoring beyond Dongkong along the Tista river at 5250 m and was occupied on 23 September. This base camp was conveniently located near the roadhead and we were able to dispense with porters and mules. Compounder Bimal Rai was Ihe first member who suffered pulmonary oedema and had to be evacuated to Thangu for medical treatment.

On 24 September, two parties were organised for a reconnaisance to .issess the possible routes to the peak. After five hours they returned to the base and reported that the chances of approaching Gurudongmar from the southeast and west faces appeared impossible. Finally it was decided to approach the peak from the northeast. This reconnaisance was vital for the expedition as on its result depended the final choice of the route of the expedition and consequently our success and safety. The climbing of the mountain from the northeast ridge was advantageous because though negotiating the massive rock face which would be laborious and challenging but it seemed to be a shorter approach in terms of lime. The expedition was not really bound by any schedule or by other constraints, including provisions.

On 25 September, the ABC (5530 m) was finally set-up and occupied by 18 members led by the deputy leader. The stores were transported to the ABC by yaks.

In the olden days it was not an uncommon sight to see large herds of mountain sheep and snow pigeons but now they are rare. We saw plenty of rabbits hopping around in the valley. The remaining members lined the party at the ABC on the following day.

On 26 September, Kalden, Nima, Pasang, Kesang and Dawa set out to recce the site for Cl. They passed through lateral moraines of Sanglaphu. They moved further up and followed the moraine ridge which was an extension of the glacier stretching from Gurudongmar to Sanglaphu. Cl (5900 m) was established at the junction of this glacier. The other members meanwhile sorted out and repacked the luggage at the ABC.

On 27 September, Lakpa, Nima, Kesang, P. Lakpa, Phurba, Ajay Makin and Sepley went to recce the site for C2. The route was full of large crevasses, some open and others hidden under the snow. It took considerable time to tackle or to circumvent them. They established C2 (6020 m) at the foot of Gurudongmar. Rest of the members ferried the loads from the ABC to Cl.

On 28 September C2 was occupied by the first summit party consisting of Lakpa, Nima, P. Lakpa, Kesang, Phurba, Makin, and Sepley. Rest of the members relayed loads to Cl. Kalden and some others followed them the next day to support and strengthen the higher camps. The summit party took up the task of opening the route. Above C2 they had to negotiate a couloir and a steep slope about 450 m high. The party fixed rope over pitches which posed danger and forged ahead. The weather greeted them with smiles but the wind velocity was high. Climbing a steep fluted neve wall which put their skill to severe test, they descended to the ridge which was not only steep but also overhung with cornices. It rose steeply with a 70 degree gradient. A slight miscalculation could result in a straight fall of thousand metres. They found a small piece of fixed rope in a rock crack, presumably left by an earlier expedition. The estimation of distances had unfortunately been wrong. Towards midday on 1 October they had scarcely reached 6600 m when they realised that they would not be able to reach the summit the same day. Therefore all of them descended to C2 convinced that they would be able to repeat their trail in a few days time. A support team from the Cl was sent to C2 with their torch lights to give directions to the summit party which had to return from about 700 m below the summit.

A double ascent had been planned with the team scaling the sattelite virgin peak Sanglaphu (6078 m) the same day. The weather was excellent. The party consisting of Kalden, Beniwal, Tamang, Dawa, Passang, Nima Sangay, Choudhary, Rawat, Mahendra Pal, Ganesh and Pushpa left Cl at 4.30 a.m. in windy conditions. The wind was freezing cold and every few minutes the team had to halt to warm itself, Digging their crampons hard into the snow to get a firmer hold on the ice below, they made very slow progress. The team took 3 hours to reach the col. They bypassed it from the right and commenced ascending the southwestern slopes. The climb from the col to the summit was easy and did not offer any technical difficulties. At 8.30 a.m. on 1 October, Sanglaphu was scaled by the young mountaineers of the S.G.M.I. It was a glorious triumph for the team. Wild cheering and hugging marked the scene, as the jubilant members congratulated each other. They spent about 20 minutes at the top, trying to take in as much of the gorgeous view as possible. Pauhunri was visible — higher and mightier — and so were Tista Khangse, Yulehkhang, Kangchengyao, Chomoywmmo and the Tibetan plateau. At 8.50 a.m. the team started its descent. They still had a long way to go before their safe return to Cl. They carefully retraced their steps one by one and reached Cl.

On 3 October, we decided to send a small summit party consisting of Lakpa, Nima, P. Lakpa, Makin, Sepley and Thendo to Gurudongmar. They left for C2 early in the morning. I also accompanied the team. We all awoke to a cloudy morning with wind and light snowfall. Luckily, the clouds were low and cleared by 6 a.m. We estimated 7 hours of climbing from C2. The estimates were all based on the Survey of India map. At the very early stage they had to negotiate a precipice. They all moved briskly to the rocky slopes where ropes had been fixed. Every time they hoped for a view of the summit, they were thwarted by a plateau obstructing their view. They were fortunate that due to a curve on the plateau the cornice was easily discernible and they could take precautionary measures. The weather that day was comparatively favourable for the climb than on the previous days. Makin and Thendo could not go beyond 70 m below the summit due to extreme exhaustion. They were left behind there. Meanwhile, Lakpa, Nima, P. Lakpa and Sepley proceeded further to the summit. The deep and soft snow slowed their progress. However, they crossed the snowfield and halted 3 m below the summit. The time was quarter to one. They remembered our promise to the Sikkimese people that we would not trample over the Gurudongmar deity.

After the rituals of photographs, hoisting of flags and prayers were over they descended at 2 p.m. They reach C2 at 4.30 p.m. and were warmly received.

With all the camps dismantled and having crossed the treacherous terrain and carried down the heavy loads to the ABC we could consider our expedition a success. The strength and time for the expedition were exhausted and the only thing for us to do was to return. 25 ice-pitons, 35 rock pitons, 45 carabiners, 10 snow-stakes and 1000 m of nylon ropes anchored lo the massive rock face and steep slopes were left behind.

Summary: The second ascent of Gurudongmar (6715 m) via the northeast ridge (a new route). Peak was climbed on 3 October 1991. Earlier Sanglaphu (6078) was climbed on 1 October 1991, a first ascent.

The Indian team to the rare north Sikkim area consisted of the climbing Instructors from the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute, Gangtok.

Photos 34-35



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THE LANDSCAPE OUTSIDE the windows of the Frankfurt airport hall woke into grey daybreak. It was 5 September, 6 hours, 22°C. We got rid of our physical rigidity, put on our jerseys, feathers jackets, plastic shoes on and pushed slowly our quintal (100 kilos) of baggage to the check-out office. When we paid for our tickets at the beginning of this year, we could hardly have an accurate idea about the weight of the baggage. The real weight of it was considerably greater, than the original estimate. The employee of the PAN-AM was unyielding: we had to pay 700 USD extra or not fly. It was necessary to prepare for the departure in 5 minutes at the latest. I felt the sweat run down my back under the jacket. The plane took off without us. The nearest possibility of flying was in 2 days. On Friday we all reached the departure office in more layers of dresses, with 52 instant soups in the pockets and the rucksacks 35 kg lighter.

Our expectation, that in Kathmandu all will go without a hitch seemed to be wrong. Our friend J. Novak, whose advice concerning organisation we depended on, left meanwhile with the Italians for the mountains. The series of troubles was not to stop. At the airport we learned that despite the air tickets we had bought we had no chance to fly to Lukla. Instead of an one hour flight and 4 days of walk we faced the twelve-day march leading under our wall. And the return flight position looked similar. On the same day our camera broke taking snaps. But the greatest shock came the next day. The obligatory exchange of 10 USD for a person per day was new to us as we had not known about that before. For two months it represents a large amount which we couldn't cover from our financial reserve. We got into an insoluble situation. The terms of departure was impossible to change, for the summit and the visa, and until the end of the stay we hadn't enough money, and without the visa we were not allowed to stay and without reaching the summit it made no sense to pay anything. This problem was finally solved by Thukten, the coproprietor of Asian Trekking Office. The sympathetical Sherpa was the only Nepalese whom we unconditionally believed. The next day the situation changed rapidly — all items were covered, our camera was repaired. Late at night we enclosed to our pessimistic letters a merry 'P.S.'.

The full bus to Jiri with atleast 20 people on the roof began to move. Two hours of sleep last night told on me and so I overslept the moment of our dreams — leaving Kathmandu. The monotonous march acted after the previous experiences as a balsam. Perhaps only the night fight with the fleas at Sette and the release of our leading Sherpa Ang, lover of drink, rippled the peaceful atmosphere. On the twelfth day we finally saw in the heavy snowing the tarn under the east wall of Lobuje East (6119 m). After the last payment to both the carriers, they hurried down racing. We stayed at the base camp alone.

The obsession to transfer the free climbing from the rocks to the great mountain walls brought us upto here. The east wall of Lobuje peak is about 1000 m high, armoured with compact plates, somewhere smoothed by water. The first attack we pursued at the time of ceasing monsoon. After two days of bad weather we had to return. Of course we pulled down both the ropes we had with us.

Lobuje East (6119 m), east face.

Lobuje East (6119 m), east face. Note 2



On the morning of 4 October the sun scorched the foot of the wall very fiercely. Two hours later, however, mist and wind will come, it is the daily cycle. We put our slippers on. It is a little unusual idea to undertake some climbs in the Himalaya in checkered slippers with buckles, but their soft sole holds very well on the weathered rocks surface. For the snow covered parts we took with us plastic shoes and crampons.

We usually curse our suspended tent, when transporting the rucksacks, but we cannot imagine climbing some walls without it. Only two hooks are sufficient and comfortable night shelter is warranted. And in addition outside the circular aperture the climbing, the stay in the wall, wind and mist disappear for 12 hours.

Steep, water smoothed plates. Here began the real difficult climbing. From the beginning we tried free climbing, the style had been possible before. Through the perpendicular rock-face ran a narrow fissure below across a solid overhang. It will not do at the first attempt. After ensuring the way with hooks it is necessary to return and climb the place freely. Michael started his second attempt. I wished with all my heart he would be successful. Frozen feet in slippers and chattered teeth were a good reason for wishing it. The mist of the third day grew dark as the evening approached. The most difficult place of our route was over.

On the third night I woke with my face on the icy roof of the tent, the cover of the sleeping bag was frozen to the roof. The badly tightened, suspended slings sagged and the roof fell on the sleeping bags. These would absorb after the sunrise in one minute all the water from the ice on the inside layer of the roof. For safety's sake Michael pulled the roof down. We found ourselves in the frosty air at 5 a.m. In the motionless morning stillness greyish blue peaks one after another appeared. Nuptse and Everest kept a bizarre cloud similar to an atomic mushroom. But for us otherwise an unimportant saddle on the horizon was of the greatest importance. Three, two, one, now! The sun appeared suddenly and a wave of warmth with it. We started to make breakfast.

On the fifth day we finally stood at the border edge of the wall. In every day mist it was only to be seen that in its steep snows we could hardly build our bivouac. We went down about 100 m to a small saddle. The suspended tent cannot be built on the snow and for the digging of a cave we hadn't enough strength any more. On the narrow crest we flattened a small platform with the pick axes and lay down there in the open. We lay on our backs and watched the sea of stars. The last day of our climb remained. In the sky appeared a short white line, a meteroite. 'Well, I wish we'd succeed', said Michael. I objected saying that if it should really be accomplished, we shouldn't speak about it aloud. The second, third, fourth meteorite. We were silent as a grave.

The climb through the edge was quick. In two hours we stood on the summit. In the afternoon we finally ^ame staggering to the base camp. The sense of tension changed into joy, the kettle of rice, warm tea and plenty of other nice things, which we cannot appreciate at home.

The airport restaurant in Kathmandu wasn't quite cozy but we were in high spirits. To our experiences from Lobuje East we added the others from Island Peak, the return march, arranging the next expedition in two years. At this time all these things were summed up and resulted in great tiredness. Fortunately only drinking a cup of coffee remained. And then to all our close people, friends, the Czech language, to our stand on the Charles bridge, potato salad and tomatoes, to Prague cafes and to our tom-cat-finally-HOME!

Summary: A Czechoslovakian ascent of Lobuje East (6119 m) by the cast face on 9 October 1990.

Photo 36



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AS A SMALL GROUP of six German mountaineers, we wanted to do an expedition into the Hongu valley (Barun Himal) to climb the virgin 2000 m high northwest face of Chamlang main (7319 ni). All of us were members of the German Alpine Club, which sponsored lliis expedition.

On 16 September 1990, the complete expedition team with Bernd Eberle (leader), Kathrin Hoerrmann-Eberle, Stefan Koehler, Dagmar Stein, Frank Weisner and Barbara Ottl arrived in Kathmandu from Frankfurt.

The next four days were used to contact the agency and liaison officer and to organise some special equipment. On the 21st, we took the bus from Kathmandu (1300 m) to Jiri (1860 m), where the road ends. We arrived after 7 hours bus ride. On the following 7 days, we walked with 38 porters from Jiri to Lukla. Each expedition member had his own rucksack weighing about 15 kg. Mostly the weather was bad. The monsoon brought a lot of clouds with rain. After a rest day in Lukla (2830 m), we crossed the Zatrwa la (4600 m) into Hinku valley, and two days later we crossed the 5400 m high Mera la into Hongu valley. The Mera la is the easiest way to get into Hongu valley. This is very dangerous, in case of high altitude sickness, because you can't descend down the valley. You must always cross Mera la to reach the next village.

On 6 October, after 15 days walking, we reached our base camp at 5000 m between the end of the south range from Hongu South peak and the northwest face of Chamlang. Since we were a small expedition, 21 porters were enough to reach BC. We had food for only 16 days to climb Chamlang. The weather got better, and we were looking for a path to the northwest face of Chamlang. We were all surprised as we saw a very big lake in front of the face. The first 300 m of the northwest face was a vertical and sometimes overhanging rock wall which ends straight in the lake.

This lower part of the face wasn't visible on the pictures we had seen before. What can we do? Our plan to climb a direct route to the summit failed, but we found a possibility to climb on the right side. The next day we carried some climbing equipment to a depot at 5350 m at the beginning of the northwest face. At last we had a rest day in BC.

Frank and Barbara decided to start climbing the face the next day. Stefan, Dagmar, Kathrin and I went back to Mera la to climb Mera peak for acclimatization. We started on 10 October in the morning from BC and reached the Mera la in the afternoon. From our little tents on the pass, we climbed Mera peak in very bad conditions. Due to deep snow and temperatures up to —25°C, we needed 10 hours to reach the summit at 6476 m. It was 11.30 a.m. on 11 October. Mera is one of the most beautiful trekking peaks to have a look at many of the 8000 m mountains in the Himalaya.

The descent was also very strenuous and so we had no chance to reach BC same day. After an additional night near the Mera la, we arrived at BC in the afternoon of 12 October.

Our liaison officer told us, that Frank and Barbara were sick since the day we left BC. The sickness looked like high altitude sickness. There was no possibility of a helicopter rescue, and so they left the BC with our Sirdar and a kitchen-boy on the 14th.



Chamlang (739 m), route of acent via the northeast face — west ridge.

37. Chamlang (739 m), route of acent via the northeast face — west ridge. Note 3

At the same time there was bad weather with snowfall. So, climbing Chamlang was not possible and we had to stay for some days at BC.

Our time was running out. Now we had only a week for climbing Chamlang. Finally the weather improved but there was 30 cm of new snow.

We observed the northwest face looking for avalanches. Time was running out more and more. Now there was very little time for all of us to climb Chamlang, and so we decided that Stefan and I should try to reach the summit. Dagmar and Kathrin worked as porters to carry our equipment to Cl at 5350 m.

On 19 October, Stefan and I started climbing on the right part of the face. We reach a small platform at 6200 m to build up C2.

Next day, after a stormy night, we arrived at the west ridge at 6600 m. This ridge was climbed by a Japanese expedition in 1986.

It was very stormy on the west ridge, and we were happy to find a crevasse to build C3.

After a short night, we started climbing at 3.30 a.m. The last 700 m on the west face, that we climbed was nearly the same route as the Japanese.

At about 10 a.m. we reached Chamlang main summit (7319 m). It was 21 October, the temperature was about -30°C. There was a very qood view around, but because of the strong wind it was not possible to stay for a longer time on the top. The same day we descended to C2 at 6200 m.

This was the fourth ascent of the Chamlang main summit and the first ascent in alpine style without high altitude porters, prepared camps and fixed ropes. Each of us climbed without protection (soloing). It was an ice-wall with difficulties about 40 to 60 degree with short steps upto 70 degree. This was also the first ascent of the northwest face upto the west ridge. On 22nd we were back in BC. That afternoon, our Sirdar arrived with the porters for the return to Lukla. On the 23rd we left BC. The porters went back to Lukla by crossing Mera la. The expedition team, together with our cook and a porter, left BC to ascend the very difficult pass Amphu Laptsa. From the pass at 5770 m, we had to descend a 300 m ice-wall, to reach the Solo Khumbu valley below Lhotse .ind Everest.

Three days later, on 27 October, we reached Lukla. The next day we were flying back to Kathmandu.

Summary: An ascent of Chamlang main (7319 m) via the unclimbed NW face upto 6600 m, following thereafter the west ridge, by a German team in October 1990. Mera peak (6476 m) was also climbed.



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I LEFT KATHMANDU on 10 December 1990 and arrived at base camp on the 18th accompanied by a trekking team. The base camp was situated on the Thulegi glacier at 4300 m on the southwest of Manaslu. Soon on 20 December, the trekking team returned back to Kathmandu, and I remained at the base camp with one Sirdar, one cook, and Miss Loscos Monique, medical doctor. My project was to climb the southwest face of Manaslu, following the Messner route of 1972, alone above the base camp, without high altitude porters, without oxygen and without walkie talkie. I started alone on 20 December to recce the route on the big rock wall (800 m high) situated between BC and Cl. I put 140 m of fixed ropes.

After two days of preparation, I went upto Cl on 24 December on the 'Butterfly valley' at 5800 m. So far, the weather was very nice, sunny and dry. But the weather conditions changed on 25 December, going upto C2, and it was not possible to reach the 'Butterfly pass', and I left 10 kg material at 6200 m before returning to Cl the same day, and to BC on 26 December. From this date for 8 days, two successive atmospheric disturbances occurred, like real winter weather, with cold wind and snowfall. So it was necessary to remain at BC, and during this period, I couldn't acclimatize well, the base camp being too low.

On 3 January 1991, when the good weather returned, I decided to try to go to the summit, going slowly for acclimatization.

On 3 January 1991 I reached Cl at 5500 m. On the 4th I reached C2 at 6500 m, near the 'Butterfly pass'.

On the 5th, I went up on the west crest until 7300 m putting my tent (C3) on the last crevasse before the summit plateau at 7400 m getting good protection against the wind.

On 6 January, I started from this last camp at 1.30 a.m. arriving at daylight at 7700 m and in the morning at 7950 m. The temperature was estimated below — 50°C and the wind at 80 kmph before the sunlight. I was not correctly acclimatized and I suffered from hallucination and confusion. So I, abandoned the climb at 7950 m near the summit.

I think that my legs were able to carry me to the top, but I would have probably 'forgotten' the return track. Frostbites did not permit me to make another attempt.

Inspite of this failure, I believe I have lived a very fine personal experience. The experience of loneliness was very intense.

Summary: A solo winter attempt on the southwest face of Manaslu (8163 m) by the French climber in December/January 1990-91. He reached 7950 m without oxygen or support.



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TIRSULI (7074 m) LIES AT THE HEAD of the Milam glacier in the Zanskar range of Kumaon Himalaya. The peak falls in the inner line and attracts very few mountaineers owing to the long approach from the roadhead and the restriction of entry to this area. The first attempt to climb this peak in 1939 by a Polish expedition had ended in the tragic loss of three lives. The second attempt made liy the 1964 Indian pre-Everest expedition had to be abandoned due to an avalanche. The peak was finally climbed by the Himalayan Association of West Bengal in 1966 in its second attempt with three members from the team reaching the top of this majestic peak.1 Since then, there is no record of any attempt on this peak although some expeditions have attempted and climbed the neighbouring peak Hardeol.


  1. See H.J. Vol. XXVII, p. 67 and 182. For the attempts see H.J. Vols. XII, p. 78, XXV, p. 206 and XXVI, p. 174. — Ed.


Our Army expedition which attempted this peak in October 1990 was very different from the many expeditions which are characterised by long planning periods, massive administrative backups and large number of participants. The team comprised of all together 12 members and one Sherpa. Most of the members had been instructors in H.A.W.S. (High Altitude Warfare School) A large proportion of them had some major expeditions behind them and on the whole it was a well balanced team.

The team had assembled in New Delhi by 9 September and was able to leave for the mountains in ten days. The roadhead camp at Munsiari was set up on 24 September and negotiations soon got under way with the local porter-cum-mule contractor. Talks which seemed to fail on numerous occasions, tension and hard bargaining coupled with a loss of one day eventually led to an agreement and the team was on its way to the base camp the next day.

A five day march along the Dhauli ganga with night halts at Lilam, Bugdiar, Burfu and Milam finally took us to our base camp at Nitwal Thaur (4270 m). The beauty of the mountains was spectacular and the minor problems like fears of sudden strikes by porters and muleteers, and to call it a day at any spot which took their fancy, only seemed to add to the challenge that we had accepted.

Our four tents which comprised the base camp at Nitwal Thaur on the east bank of Milam glacier were a solitary sight in the vast meadow and offered a grand view of Hardeol, Tirsuli and many peaks which we identified from the map.

As the team had occupied BC on 29 September it was already quite cold and we knew that we would have to work our way up at a rapid pace since any climbing after 20 October would be in the winter conditions.

From Nitwal Thaur, the glacier rose at a gradual gradient till the foot of the southern approach to Hardeol and Tirsuli ridge and then took a sharp turn to the east. The plateau between Hardeol and Tirsuli ridge lay about 1370 m from the level of the glacier but the steep and dangerous hanging glaciers which sent down massive ice and snow avalanches at regular intervals dispelled any idea of taking this approach and it was decided to follow the Milam glacier to the east where it met the Chalab ridge. Along this route, we would try to climb the southern slopes which would lead us above.

The glacier, as it turned to the east, was a maze of wide crevasses and huge ice-towers. To avoid these and to save rope we climbed a rock on the east bank of the glacier at its turning point. Three rope lengths took us to the narrow grassy slopes just a few hundred feet below the ridge which ran along the entire length of the right bank of the glacier. It also opened the view of the east we could see Chalab and Kholi peaks in the distance. A walk of about a kilometre on this narrow elevated grassy slope sandwiched between the scree slopes to the left and the rocky ridge to our right made our route to Cl which we set up on the right medial moraine on the glacier. To avoid the crevasses and ice-towers we had resorted to gaining and losing a height of 120 m but we were happy at having found a safe route.

Cl was located at 4730 m. Although the gain in altitude was only 460 m the route was indeed long since we had not resorted to placing camps like the 1966 Himalayan Association expedition. Cl was occupied on 4 October by Capt. Gurmeet Singh, Nb Sub Bir Subba Gurung, Havildar Binod Kumar, Havildar Joginder Singh along with Sherpa Tsangey. From Cl the glacier rose gradually for some distance and then leaped abruptly and steeply in the form of a staircase some 300 m high. We selected a middle line to ascend this and set up C2 which was occupied on 8 October by Gurmeet's party minus Joginder who asked to stay back at Cl to acclimatize better. Meanwhile, three other members had fallen sick and had been sent down to Munsiari for medical attention and recovery. C2 was set up above the staircase at 5120 m, a little below the snow and rock rib which divides the Milam glacier here in two parts. In the middle section it ascends to the east till it meets the Chalab ridge. Route to C3 had been opened by now so I along with three members occupied C2 on 10 October and spent the night together with Gurmeet's party. On 11 October all eight members went to C3 (5490 m.) on the plateau at a safe distance from the rocky rib to our left. The route to C3 passed through a number of crevasses, narrow ice-bridges and steep ice-slopes that were negotiated by circumventing or getting inside them and jumaring up the fixed ropes that were put up in these sections. The work done on the route by Gurmeet's party was commendable and I was now confident that within a week we would be in striking distance of the summit. We dumped our loads at C3 and wished good luck to Gurmeet and his party and returned to C2. In the evening it was learnt that Nb Sub Prem Chand had fallen sick, so he was asked to return to Munsiari if he did not show any signs of improvement at BC. Next day when we made a ferry to C3, we learnt that four ropes had been fixed on the rocky rib and probably seven more ropes would be required to be fixed to reach the site of C4. However, it snowed very heavily on the 12th evening and for most of the day on the 13th and the fear of getting buried in the tents and of being cut off seemed to be working in the minds of C3 occupants. A two hourly contact was maintained through the night on the walkie talkie to keep alert and abreast of the conditions at C3 and the weather conditions compelled me to take a decision to ask the occupants to move down to C2 on the morning of the 14th, whereas I along with my party set out to ferry some loads and to help them in coming down. It had snowed very heavily and the accumulated snow and buried ropes were slowing us considerably and it took us six hours to reach C3. The day had dawned clear and held a promise of good weather and clear skies for the next few days. It brought further cheer when we reached C3 to find that Bir Subba, Binod Kumar and Tsangey were working on the route and had given up the idea of moving down to C2. I occupied C3 on 15 October while my rope mates, Narender and Joginder made ferries and returned to C2. From lower camps the features around had obscured our view of Tirsuli and we had mistakenly started identifying point 6701 m as our objective. It was only due to the availability of good maps and confidence in our map reading that Gurmeet and I could manage to orient the other members and remove their fixation of Pt. 6701 m. Our plans were now to set C4 on the 16th and I was to help them in setting up the camp and identifying the peak. Narender and Joginder were to join me at C3 on 16 October. The peak was to be attempted on 17 October by Gurmeet's party whereas I along with Narender and Joginder were to occupy C4 the same day.

Route through the Tirsuli icefall.

38. Route through the Tirsuli icefall. Note 5 (A.B. Goth)

Tirsuli (7074 m). Pt. 6701 m was reached.

39. Tirsuli (7074 m). Pt. 6701 m was reached.

As planned C4 was occupied on 16 October. There were altogether 16 ropes which had been fixed to make the route secure. It involved some steep rock, ice and snow-climbing over slopes of 50 to 60 degrees. Almost where our ropes ended we found a coil of worn out manila rope which belonged to some previous expedition. Presumably, these belonged to the 1939 Polish expedition which had attempted the peak and had lost their members in an avalanche which had swept their summit camp. Other than this rope we did not see any evidence of any human visit to this area. We all carried heavy sacks and it took nearly five hours of climbing to reach the site of C4. Tirsuli stood some 790 m above us but looked, deceptively close in the clean and rarified air. Pt. 6701 m stood distinctly as a peak in itself to the left and these two dominating peaks connected by a ridge dwarfed all other features in contrast. By now, the weather had started packing up and I was urged by Gurmeet and others to stay back at C4 in view of the deteriorating weather conditions but I decided to descend and join Joginder and Narender who would be waiting for me at C3.

The planned move for the summit at 4 a.m. on 17 October was delayed because of the pitch dark night and the summit party had to wait till 5.15 a.m. for light before it could move. Joginder had not been able to sleep due to a headache and asked for permission to descend so I sent down Narender to escort him down to C2.

I myself settled down to monitor the progress of the summit party through half hourly radio contacts. At 9.30 a.m. a message was received that the summit party was making steady progress and it expected to reach the ridge in the next one and half hour. After this communication the walkie-talkie at C3 developed some defect and all communication ceased. The weather was absolutely clear till 12 o'clock and one could not have expected better climbing conditions. But it took a sudden turn and developed into white-out within half an hour. We were out of communication with the summit party but were hopeful that it would have returned to the summit camp latest by 2 p.m. It snowed the whole night and white-out conditions prevalied on the 18 October as well. On the 18th morning, the two of us moved out for C4 to establish contact. However, the tracks which were one and a half feet deep yesterday were all covered up with snow and it became evident that in the existing conditions we stood more chances of losing ourselves rather than making it to C4. We could see the futility of our plan and returned to the tent hoping for a break in the weather.

The morning of 19 October dawned clear and we set out at 7 a.m. for C4, expecting to meet Gurmeet's party on its way down. The soft and deep snow made moving very laborious and at 7.30 a.m. we saw a single climber descending down the ropes, bringing down snow-avalanches along with him. He took only 30 minutes to reach the bottom of the rocky rib and turned out to be Tsangey. He seemed to have undergone a tough time and was dehydrated. Slowly and briefly he narrated the experiences which he had gone through.

The complete party, as we learnt soon after, had made good progress towards the summit ridge, but deep and soft snow, two falls into hidden crevasses, a detour which wasted one hour, and the steepness of the slopes of the summit ridge made them decide to first climb Pt. 6701 m and then continue along the ridge for the summit. At 12 p.m., the weather started deteriorating and Gurmeet and Bir Subba rightly took a decision to return from Pt. 6701 m as it would have taken about two Jiours to reach Tirsuli from there. Binod and Tsangey who had done all the lead climbing and rope fixing on the expedition were still feeling strong and felt that the summit was within grasp and argued strongly against turning back. They went a few rope lengths on the ridge towards the summit but seeing that Gurmeefc and Bir Subba had no intention of following them, they retraced their steps and planted the snow-bar on Pt. 6701 m. It was our intention to leave it at the top of Tirsuli or the highest point attained by the expedition as a proof of our having reached that point.

What followed is a tale of survival. The team had considerable difficulty in descending the hard ice-slopes which were 60 to 70 degrees in places. As no ropes were fixed above C4 and the white-out conditions by 12.45 p.m. were absolute, the party was never sure of the way down. It took lbout three hours to descend on to the snow-plateau and soon after realisation came that they were lost. Fortunately, the party had feather jackets and were carrying two water bottles between them. They continued moving till midnight in the faint hope of finding the single tent and then *at down huddled together. The morning of 18 October failed to bring clear weather and it was only at 1.30 p.m. that a slight opening in the mist occurred and the tent at C4 was spotted. The benightment had taken its price and all four members were severely frostbitten. By next morning, their toes and feet had become swollen and it was difficult to put on climbing boots. The conditions was so bad that it seemed easy and tempting to give up and just stay at C4 and not to make any effort. It is to the credit of each member of C4 that they drew courage from each other and with will power descended to Cl from which they were picked up by a helicopter the next day.

Summary: An attempt on Tirsuli (7074 m) in Kumaon by an Indian Army team in October 1991. Pt. 6701 m on the shoulder of Tirsuli was climbed on 17 October 1991.

Photos 38-39



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AN EXPEDITION TO THE formidable Nanda Devi East (7434 m) was jointly organised by the Climbers and Explorers Club India and the Odessa Mountaineering Club of the USSR, from 31 August to 3 October, 1991. Fourteen climbers from the Soviet Union ind eighteen from India, participated in this expedition. The joint expedition was led by S. Bhattacharjee.

Nanda Devi East:

Nanda Devi is a formidable mountain, bewitchingly beautiful, and with halo of divinity around it. Its twin peaks, the Main and the East, are joined by a ridge. The Main peak stands at an imposing 7816 m, making it the fifth highest peak of India. It is approached via the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Nanda Devi East stands at 7434 m and can be approached from the east or Kumaon without entering the Sanctuary. This is the only route available to the present day mountaineer, since the Nanda Devi Sanctuary has been closed to mountaineering expeditions for reasons of ecological preservation.

Nanda Devi East (7434 m) from base camp. Longstaff Col on left.

40. Nanda Devi East (7434 m) from base camp. Longstaff Col on left. Note 6 (Ashok Dlilwali)

Nanda Devi peaks. Route followed the ridge on right.

41. Nanda Devi peaks. Route followed the ridge on right. Note 6 (Magan Bissa)

The approach to the base camp of Nanda Devi East is a five-day march from Munsiari, at first northward to Martoli, and then westward. The temple at this village provides a befitting tribute to the divine stature that this mountain enjoys. Munsiari to Martoli forms part of the Johar valley which extends further north upto the Indo-Tibetan border. The Indo-Tibetan trade via this route contributed once upon a time to the prosperity of this region.

Climbing Nanda Devi East from here was a Herculean task. The mountain put to test all the technical skill, physical stamina and mental strength of a mountaineer. No less than 2800 m of rope had to be fixed on the mountain to make the climb possible. Some rope was required to be fixed even beyond the summit camp. Cold winds, snow and a highly treacherous route all added to the difficulties of the climb. It was through determined joint action that success was eventually achieved.

Four successful attempts:

The joint Indo-Soviet team attempted the summit in four groups and succeeded in all its attempts. On 21 September two Soviet climbers managed to reach the summit. On the 22nd four Soviet climbers and one Indian climber reached the summit. On 23 September another four Soviet Climbers made it to the top. On the 25th the final summit attempt was made pulling three Indian climbers on the summit. A total of fourteen climbers thus reached the summit. I was the only Indian member climber to reach the summit, the rest all being Sherpa climbers.

The expedition followed the route of the 1939 Polish expedition which made the first ascent of the peak. This route goes over the Longstaff Col and follows the steep and technically difficult south ridge. (See Exploring the Hidden Himalaya, by Mehta and Kapadia photo 23, p. 54, for a full view of this ridge). An Indo-Polish expedition to celebrate 50 years of the first ascent had tried to repeat this route in 1989 and failed. Experience gained by me on that trip proved extremely useful with strong Russian climbers.

My first attempt on the peak failed. Finally with 2 Sherpas our party reached the summit on 25 September 1991 at 11.50 a.m. We enjoyed 45 minutes on the summit enjoying the view and worshipping the Goddess. The descent was risky as it was very difficult to relocate the route due to a snow blizzard and poor visibility. We reached C3 at 6.15 p.m.

Nanda Devt East is a very difficult peak with loose rocks, strong winds and a long corniced ridge. Many climbers have died on this mountain. Tensing Norgay mentions this peak in his autobiography as the most difficult peak he has ever climbed, even after Everest.

We were privileged to climb the route on to the throne of the Goddess.

Summary: The ascent from the eastern approaches of Nanda Devi East (7434 m) from the Longstaff Col. The Indo-Russian team was first to repeat the 1939 Polish first ascent route. Fourteen climbers reached the summit in late September 1991.

Camp on Longstaff Col, Nanda Devi East in background.

Camp on Longstaff Col, Nanda Devi East in background. Note 6 (Magan Bissa)

Climbing on Nanda Devi East. Main Nanda Devi peak on left.

Climbing on Nanda Devi East. Main Nanda Devi peak on left. (Magan Bissa)

On Nanda Devi East, main peak in background

On Nanda Devi East, main peak in background Magan Bissa)



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THREE OF US WERE ALL SET to go for a small scale Himalayan expedition in May-June 1991, the only hitch was where?

Someone suggested Dangthal (6050 m) in Shalang gad region of Kumaon Himalaya. An infrequented place near the Nanda Devi sanctuary. Another possibility was the Danu Dhura an ancient high altitude pass leading from Shalang glacier to Pindari glacier.

After getting initiated in the art of map reading and the uses of the compass and altimeter, we set off on 25 May 1991 from Bombay reaching Munsiari on the 28th.

The next day was spent in procuring our inner line permits and arranging for porters.

On the 30th we set off for Lilam (1610 m) our first stage to B.C. From Munsiari (2073 m) we dropped down 1210 m just above the right bank of Gori Ganga which emanated from Milam glacier much further ahead. We could make out the Panch Chuli group of peaks to our east.

The Munsiari-Milam route was in use for generations by Indian and Tibetan traders bartering goods across the border, before it was sealed by the border police. The entire route is broad and paved.

From Bugdiyar we reached Rilkot another transit camp of I.T.B.P. manned by two jawans.

Of all the base camp approach routes I have been to, this was the most scenic and beautiful with dense forest at places and massive waterfalls lumbling down to join the mighty Gori Ganga. At places there are sheer rock walls extending vertically for 3000 m and a worthy expedition proposal In itself.

From Rilkot we reached Martoli (3320 m) a large village now in ruins, the sad remains of the Indo-Tibetan trade period.

Martoli is at the junction of Milam glacier to our north, Lwa gad to our west, Birajganj (a pass leading to Ralam glacier) to our SE with Gori Ganga flowing south. Looking into Lwa gad (the route followed by expeditions to Kuchela peak and Nanda Kot, ending below the Longstaff Col on the Nanda Devi East ridge we could see Nanda Khat and the mighty Nanda Devi East.

Here there is a temple known as Nanda Mandir which enshrines the Nanda Devi peak itself.

We moved into the Lwa gad for 4 km then turned south west into Shalang gad. Straight ahead we could see Shalang Dhura (5683 m).

We set up our base camp (4220 m) at Malla Shalang a grazing ground just below the western slopes of Shalang Dhura, on 4 June. From here we could see a beautiful panorama of peaks.

From Malla Shalang, crossing a stream coming from Shalang Dhura we climbed a ridge forming part of the right bank of the Shalang gad. We followed the ridge to the south getting down on the medial moraine of Shalang glacier and continued the same upto just one hour short "I the base of north face of Dangthal. Here we located our Cl, in Ihe cirque formed by Shalang Dhura, Dangthal, Laspa Dhura, Nandakhani, and Nandakot running east to west.

Our primary objective was Dangthal, the second aim was to try crossing Ihe Danu Dhura pass located exactly on the col between Laspa Dhura and Nandakhani leading from Shalang gad to Kafni glacier, then over the ridge of Nandabhanar into Pindari glacier. This was considered as a possible alternative to the Traill's pass. In fact there still exists a shrine of Danu in Shalang gad on the left lateral moraine below Nandakhani peak at Bhadeli Gwar, another grazing ground. On our climb up Dangthal we could see two huge cairns on the ridge of Nandakharni, indicators of probable route to Danu Dhura.1


  1. Danu Dhura is an interesting proposition for crossing. It has no recorded crossing since H. Ruttledge's porters in 1926. It was tried by an Indian team from Bombay in 1988 which felt certain about the possibility of Ihe crossing. For full details and discussions see H.J. Vol. 45, p. 61 - Ed.


Shalang Dhura (5863 m), Kumaon.

Shalang Dhura (5863 m), Kumaon. Note 7 (Vinay Hegde)

Dangthal (6050 m) (centre behind) in Shalang valley.

Dangthal (6050 m) (centre behind) in Shalang valley. Note 7 (Vinay Hegde)

Nanda Kot (861 m) (right) and Nandakhani (6029 m) (centre). Danu Dhura (pass) possibly lies on the ridge on the left of the later peak.

Nanda Kot (861 m) (right) and Nandakhani (6029 m) (centre). Danu Dhura (pass) possibly lies on the ridge on the left of the later peak.

On the 8th we left for our attempt up the north face of Dangthal. After crossing the glacier bed, we went up the initial slopes of moderate gradient for 180 m to the crest of the first hump and the first of numerous crevasses. Climbing another snow slope (45° - 50°) for 150 m, we entered a small but steep gully which we hoped would lead us into the central gully of Dangthal. Going along the crest of this small gully we found our route to be blocked by huge seracs and crevasses in our front. To the right were chaotically stacked seracs and crevasses extending right upto the summit slopes. After a small detour from the left over dangerous looking crevasse, we attained the central gully.

A long and tiring plod up this (200 m) brought us to a broad ramp system about 150 m wide and running from east to west across the entire face of the peak and full of crevasses. The eastern end of this culminated into a col between Shalang Dhura and Dangthal and the western end ended on the ridge connecting the main peak and another peak in the foreground.

From here we had an excellent view of Nandakot east face, Nandakhani, Laspa Dura, Danu Dhura and Nandabhanar's summit slopes and its NW ridge. The view to the south was blocked by clouds. From here (c. 5750 m) we continued up the north face, which although steep had few crevasses, the biggest one being 200 m above us extending across entire summit slope. This we hoped was our last major obstacle. We climbed up 65° powder snow to find the narrowest point on thte crevasse which was 6 m wide with the upper lip overhanging prominently. The height here was 5900 m (approx.) (with reference to Laspa Dhura-5895 m). We called off the attempt at 1615 hrs. returning to Cl at 2000 hrs.

We considered that a second attempt would be fruitless as our team was not adequately equipped to cross those crevasses. Also we gave up our plans on Danu Dhura pass as there was too much snow for our porters to cross without proper equipment. Instead we decided to try Shalang Dhura. We returned back to BC.

On the 11th Jignesh and I started on the west face of Shalang Dhura through a snow gully. After some, time Jignesh experiencing severe chest pain went down. I continued alone reaching the SW ridge which was steep at several places and continuing up it reached the summit massif. Climbing up the northern edge of the massif on 60°-65c slopes of compact snow besides a rocky rib, I reached the summit at 1345 hrs. No view, as the weather was bad. Wasting no time on the summit I started down reaching BC by 1515 hrs.

Clearing our rubbish off the mountains, we reached Bombay on 24 June*.

Summary: An Indian team from Bombay climbed in the Shalang gad valley, eastern Kumaon in June 1991.

Attempt on Dangthal (6050 m) by Jignesh Raral, Jasmine and Vinay legde reaching 5900 m. Climb of Shalang Dhura, (5863 m) by Vinay Hedge.



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MATRI (6721 m) is situated at the head of Matri glacier. It has so far been attempted by many expeditions. The technical difficulties culties are experienced due to rough moraine, huge crevasses, bergschrunds, unpredictable dangers of rock falls, exposed ridges and severe rock climbing bove 5800 m.

The main programme of the expedition started from Gangotri which W reached on 19 August. The load was transferred to pre-base camp by members, porters and no mules. Pre-base camp known as Bhujgaddi was 11 km from Gangotri, on the right of Bhagirathi river, besides the old route to Gaumukh. The camp was situated exactly at the intersection of Matri nala and Bhagirathi river. The route ahead was through Matri nala. On the way we had to cross the nala three times. After walking for 2 hours on the ridge, we reached a region of bad moraine which was leading us to the base camp.

The BC (4725 m) was on the lateral moraine fed by Sudarshan, Chaturbhuj, Twins and south ridge of Matri. Cl (5180 m) was located near the snout of Matri bamak with sufficient fresh water resources nearby. On the 26th, Rajesh, Anil, Moreshwar, Atul, Suhas and Shersingh shifted to Cl and other members from BC and HAPs did a load ferry. Rajesh and I climbed the moraine ridge nearly 150 m after Cl and saw the first view of Matri peak. From this point, the full south ridge as well as the summit of Matri was visible. Prasad, Sharad and Govind reconnoitered the route to C2. They located the place at the bottom of south ridge of Matri. They returned to Cl at 4 p.m. On the 27th all Cl members, did load ferry to C2- At the starting of the route to C2 it was a 150 m climbing through moraine, then a gentle slope led to the glacier. After climbing two small ice-walls, the route passed through small rock fall area. There was a huge crevasse field enroute.

On the 30th, Rajesh, Anil and Shersingh occupied C2 (5790 m) on hard glacier near the south ridge of Matri. This site was a little distance from the rock or snow avalanche zone. Cl party did major load ferry to C2. Rajesh and I came at the rock bottom to observe the route on the rock gully and south ridge. We found it difficult to open the route through the rock gully due to heavy rock fall, so we decided to climb the rock face beside the rock gully. On 31 August and 1 September Frasad, Rajesh and Anil opened the route and fixed up nearly 550 m of rope on the south ridge of Matri. All members now had been properly acclimatized and were all fit. By now half the route to the summit was opened. So we decided to attempt the peak.

On 2 September, Prasad, Rajesh and Anil started climbing at 5.35 a.m. They took 3 hours to clear the 1st rock gully of 210 m and they reached hard snow-slope with the help of fixed rope. There Anil started feeling uneasy, so he returned to C2. Rajesh and Prasad took the decision to continue climbing. They climbed the ice-cum-snow wall and reached the south ridge of Matri. After the top of col, the gradient was steep. After an interval of 20 minutes, they started climbing further. The route was easy upto the bottom of the first rock band. Snow was more loose, the next 75 m it was very difficult due to a steep gradient of hard snow and a direct fall. They fixed up a rope on this obstacle and climbed carefully. At 1.15 p.m. both the climbers were at the top of the rock band. They did a reconnaissance of the further route which would have needed more equipment and time. Both the members were short of equipment, so they returned from the top of the rock band.

As expected the weather turned worse during the next 4 days. We could do nothing but sit in the tents. We could not see the sun for 4 days. On 8th evening the sky turned clear.

That morning the sun's rays came on the tents after six days. After breakfast we started marching towards C2 to re-open the route. Half way to C2, we returned to Cl due to bad weather. On 10th morning weather was clear again. The team shifted to C2 with all personal and extra loads. Our camp site was heavily affected by the snowfall. All the tents had collapsed and water had collected in the tents.

It was still very cold when on the 11th at 3.00 a.m., the first team of Prasad and Shersingh started climbing: They took 2½ hours to clear the rock path. Then they gave the signal to the 2nd team. Prasad and Shersingh reached the top of the 1st rock band at 9 a.m. The route ' was along a corniced ridge increasing in angle from 65 to 75 degrees This was a long patch of about 150 m to the rock band. Prasad took the lead on the 2nd band. Both climbed the 2nd rock band safely and kept climbing further. The summit ridge was a typical corniced ridge. On the left was the corniced part whereas on the right, there were scattered rocks. The angle of the right face was very steep so they decided to stick to the rock and went ahead.

About the last portion of the summit Prasad says: 'The weather was going from bad to worse, but we pressed on. I noticed a particular thing before every cornice. There was a slight depression in the ridge angle and then a steep climb till the corince top. After completing the corniced part, we had to climb down to the right and then again climb up a steep snow-slope to the summit. After every five steps, we had to stop to regain our breath. After what seemed like ages, I noticed that beyond a particular rock, nothing could be seen or nothing was rising above. 1 thought it is due to white-out but when I actually climbed that portion, I realised that I was on the summit and it had a sharp corniced edge'. So finally Prasad and Sher Singh reached the top of Matri at 1.30 p.m. They took photographs and offered prayers. After pooja both summiters started descending at 1.45 p.m.

Rajesh, Moreshwar and I were in the second team. We were on the top of the rock band at 11.50 a.m. From there I saw Prasad and Sher Singh on the top of 2nd rock band. We three gave them wishes, now our energy was doubled; we started climbing speedily. But the dark clouds were coming up from the valley, covering most of the peaks. The temperature started going down but we were firm on our attempt. We climbed the risky patch towards the 2nd rock band very carefully. We reached above 6600 m and had almost covered the 2nd rock band. Rajesh went ahead. He suddenly saw Prasad showing the victory sign from almost 30 to 50 m further. We guessed that Prasad and Shersingh had conquered the peak. We received them half way and congratulated both. Prasad was very tired. Shersingh also had lost his stamina. We asked him about the further route to the summit and according to him it was nearly 2 hours of climbing. Both the summiters were also expecting our help In climbing down. Considering the success, members' safety and satisfaction, I called off our 2nd attempt at 6630 m and abandoned the expedition.

Route of Matri Expendition -- Route of Yogeshwar Expedition…

Route of Matri Expendition ------
Route of Yogeshwar Expedition…..


Panwali Dwar (6663 m) is a beautiful peak on the outer wall of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. It is situated at the head of Pindari valley, separating it from the Sunderdhunga valley. Tom Longstaff surveyed this area in 1905, after which W. Noyce gave his opinion about this peak as a ‘Gateway of Winds’ rising above the Pindari glacier. West ridge of this peak leads to the Sunderdhunga Khal and is full of vertical rocky walls, whereas east ridge leads to Nandakhat and is difficult for climbing as it is threatened by avalanches and is long. There may be an easier route to Panwali Dwar from the north, from the Nanda Devi side through the Purbi Rishi bamak. However, this area being inside the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, has been closed since 1982. We decided to make an attempt along the south ridge which is about 1350 m. In the past only a few expeditions have attempted this peak. In 1980 this peak was scaled for the first time by a Japanese team led by K. Nakai. In 1983 another Japanese team had to give up their attempt due to the death of their members. The American team in 1989 could not scale it due to high wind, lightning and thunder.

After five months of hard work, the team of 25 members was ready to move on 15 August. We left Bombay and reached Song via Delhi, Almora, Kausani and Bageshwar. Song is the second last village on the motorable road.

Sudarshan Parbat (6507 m) north face.

48. Sudarshan Parbat (6507 m) north face. Note 8 (Suhas Kharde)

Unclimbed peak Twins (6565 m) near Matri.

49. Unclimbed peak Twins (6565 m) near Matri. Note 8 (J. Raul)

Panwali Dwar (6663 m) route of ascent by south ridge.

50. Panwali Dwar (6663 m) route of ascent by south ridge. Note 8 (Ajay Kulkarni)

Bauljuri (5922 m) from C3 on Panwali Dwar. Col on the right.

51. Bauljuri (5922 m) from C3 on Panwali Dwar. Col on the right. Note 8 (Ajay Kulkarni)

We reached the base camp (4120 m) via the Pindari trail on 26th August. Our base camp was situated opposite 'Zero point'. We took two days to establish BC properly and rearrange loads. On 27th August Prasad, Anil and Surendra went to recce the route to Cl. On 28th fifteen members went to Cl for load ferry. We established Cl at 4820 m which was little above the normal campsite. There was no flat area and we had to pitch our tents on two big boulders. On 31st, three more members occupied Cl. For the next two days the weather was very bad. On 4th, nine members from Cl ferried some loads to C2, established at 5180 m exactly below a col on a connecting ridge between Bauljuri and Panwali Dwar. This was the Bauljuri col. Campsite was on a snowfield and water had to be obtained by melting snow. Tara Singh, Prasad and myself went towards the first ridge of Panwali Dwar to recce the route ahead and selected a place for C3.

C3 was established at the bottom of the south wall of Panwali Dwar. The main climbing started from this camp. After crossing a small snowfield, we traversed towards the extreme left of the face and entered a steep gully. We found pieces of broken white 8 mm rope of previous expeditions here. The climbing become difficult on mixed terrain of steep rock and snow. The danger of rock fall was also haunting. After fixing 15 m rope in the gully, we reached the top of the southeast ridge of Panwali Dwar. Further route continued on this southeast ridge. About 60 m rope line was fixed by Moreshwar, Anil, Prasad and Surendra so far. Anil, Prasad and myself decided to find a place for C4 occupy it, open the route further on final parts of the summit and climb it on 19th. As per plan Prasad and I left C3 early in the morning with heavy loads. We jumared up the fixed line and dumped our loads to 5950 m. Prasad and myself continued with some steep climbing on a snow slope scattered with boulders. We fixed nearly 150 m rope. We were very high and the tents of C3 looked like small dots through an opening in the clouds. However, we could not locate a suitable camping place for the night, and attempt the peak the next day. We had no alternative, in the absence of a secured camp, but to return to C3. We reached C3 at 7 p.m., very tired. On 20th Moreshwar and Surendra went up for fixing the tope on the remaining route. We planned to make two separate summit attempts on the 24th and 27th respectively.

The summit climbing report is based on the report of summiters. On the 22nd Moreshwar, Anil, Prasad and Surendra occupied C4. Pravin had ferried a heavy load to C4 from C3 and gone back earlier. The camp was established at the side of the main Panwali Dwar ridge at 6340 m on a small shoulder.

On the 23rd they started climbing at 5 a.m. They hands were numb in the pre-dawn chill. They climbed nearly 180 m where they found an old rope which continued for 100 m. The route now traversed towards the right to meet a snow-ridge leading to the summit. They traversed a rock pinnacle from its snowy base and reached the final summit ridge. It was 10 a.m. and they were now hit by the wind blowing from the Sunderdhunga valley. They continued climbing and at about 3.30 p.m. they were engulfed totally in black clouds giving no clue as to their whereabouts. Suddenly Surendra spotted a black yellow rope line attached to a 1 m long snow-stake buried in snow. They trudged on wearily putting one foot over the other. At last they were on flat ground with the slope, falling down in all directions. 'We are on the summit', said Prasad. It was 4.05 p.m. someone took out the flag and Prasad took snaps with his numb fingers. They offered prayers. The rappeled all the way down to reach C3 safely at 11.00 p.m.

Summary: (A) The ascent of Matri (6721 m) on 11 September 1990 by the south ridge.
(B) The second ascent of Panwali Dwar (6663 m) made by an Indian team on 23 September 1991. The team also climbed Bauljuri (5922 m).

Both the ascents were made by the Indian teams from Bombay, led by the author.

Photos 45 to 51
Panorama G



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THE SECOND ATTEMPT to climb Rock Tower (6150 m)1 in the Indian region of Garhwal, was successful. At 10 a.m. on 27 August 1990 Righetti Stefano and Giordani Maurizio reached the top of Rock Tower.

The expedition, that left Italy on 6 August 1990, was composed of three Italian alpinists, Stefano Righetti, (leader), Maurizio Giordani and his wife Rosanna Manfrini.

A fourth member, Sergio Martini, joined them in New Delhi and together they installed the base camp at 4000 m, a little above Kedarnath, after 5 days of journey part by bus and part on foot with 5 porters.

It took about one week to reach the advance camp on the snow patch at 5000 m at the top of a long spur and then to climb about 6-7 pitches till 5650 m.


  1. For the first attempt see H.J. Vol. 46, Illustrated Note 1, p. 224. — Ed.


Route on Rock Tower

Route on Rock Tower

Unfortunately, Sergio Martini had to go back to Italy, so, after some days of rest, only Stefano, Maurizio and Rosanna left the base camp for the final attack.

Unfortunately, a bad surprise was waiting for them at advance camp. Some mice had eaten almost all their dehydrated food, but they still decided to try the peak.

They bivouacked the first night at 5650 m, where Rosanna had to stop because of health problems.

Only Stefano and Maurizio went on. They left their sleeping bags there, carring with them only a few indispensable things and food, so that they could climb as quickly as possible.

After a second bivouac at 6000 m without any tent or sleeping bag, with a temperature of —20°C they overcame the last 150 m that separated them from the top in few hours during the morning after.

The weather was a little better than last year and it was especially good during the three days of the last attack. The new route goes along the south ridge, as planned last year. It is a long 24 pitches from the base of Rock Tower to the top at 6150 m.

The difficulties were always very high, many pitches of IV + and above till VII + (according to UIAA scale) and near the top, 10 m of A2.

Only ledges were left equipped, and no nail or fixed ropes were left along the pitches. For protection during the climb only one series of stoppers and one of Friends were used.

The tower (1000m tall) starts at the altitude of 5150 m at the of a long rocky and snowy black spur of Il-IV + (UIAA Scale).

Summary: The ascent of Rock Tower (6150 m) on 27 August 1990 by two Italians. The tower, situated above Kedarnath (Garhwal) was attempted by them earlier in 1989.



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Translated by Peter De Kany

DDEEP IN THE ICE there are two ice-screws in front of me: my belay anchors. Steep, ice covered granite slabs above and endless ice-wall underneath. We haven't met with such rotten Ice for a long time, but the good belay is calming. My partner, Peter Dekany ascends in a constant, slow rhythm towards the 'Funnel'. It's about 3 p.m. and as certain omen of a snowfall, dark clouds are whirling around. No mistake: the snowfall is here and soon the whole face changes. Curtains of powdery snow everywhere, the gully — where my belay is — fills up with avalanches of snow and sleet. I try to hold my head above the stream blinded by the whirling drift, while I handle the ropes under it. There is more and more snow, the helplessness and the fear slows down my reactions. My head is free, but my body is pressed hard by the stream. It is something like standing fastened to the bottom of a swimming pool being just filled.

The storm disappears as quickly as it came, so I can untie myself from the ice-screws and climb up on the next pitch. Peter made the next belay on an icy bundle of old ropes. We saw pegs, bolts, ice covered ropes earlier also, reminding us of the previous attempts on the steep and bleak north face of Thalay Sagar (6904 m).

Today we made good progress: 650 m from the 1400 m high face is already below us. The tents of Cl are only small dots and the summit of the neighbouring Bhrigupanth also seems to be closer. In the short break before the next snowfall we climb left and try to find a place for a bivouac, however, the terrain is very hostile. Steep, ice-crusted slabs everywhere and even after 2-3 hours of ice-cutting we have a bad ledge the size of a rucksack. The bivouac sack protects us from the snow rushing down, but some of it gets jammed between the wall and our back slowly pushing us down off of the ledge. We don't use our sleeping bags, since in this situation, it would be very difficult to get into them, and after a few hours, they would be certainly completely wet.

It's 5.30 a.m. when we start climbing. I lead the first pitch, and here again the ice axes and crampons play the main role. The funnel — which is the only logical line between the lower ice-wall and the upper rock section — means the first real trial. The protection is poor or sometimes impossible. The ice is 70-85 degrees steep and on some sections it peels off from the rock in big slabs, the progress demands special caution. Our sacks weigh about 15 kg, now moving is hard and tiring with them. Despite all these, there are a few nice sections worth climbing. Above the Funnel in a broad cirque the terrain is less steep and risky. Higher up we can see those frightful overhanging icy chimneys which are known from the reports of our predecessors. They consider this section as the most risky, difficult and troublesome on the face. A still life of different ropes hanging from impossible situations characterise this place. Continuing to the right, under a significant block we find a better place for the second night. Today our prospects for the night seem to be better: we are already in the bivouac sack half asleep when it starts snowing.

Next day we start early to take advantage of the short clear morning. Further on we expect — as we had seen through a telescope from the base camp — a few icy gullies followed by a snowy moderate rock ridge. On the contrary there is a section of nearly vertically placed loose boulders covered with thick powdery snow. Peter passes the right of leading to me and I — though not very enthusiastically — begin to struggle upwards. I move in the deep snow like a swimmer and it takes one and a half hour to get 40 meters higher. This part of the face is completely unpleasant for bivouacking, therefore, despite the snowfall we continue. The temperature is unusually high, about -3°C, and our mittens are soaked through. A traverse to the left takes us to the huge upper ice cirque. Here about 2 pitches under the 'Blacky' — the dark, loose shale of the summit section — we find a poor ledge: the site of our next night.

Sometimes the clouds split up and we can catch sight of our friends down on the glacier. Three members of our five strong expedition: Gyorgy Kiszely, Attila Szikszai and Gabor Berecz are on the way to C2 in the col between Thalay Sagar and Bhrigupanth. Probably tomorrow they will start climbing on the northeast ridge, while here we reach that point of the north face were our predecessors abandoned it.

The top of the beautiful Thalay Sagar is made of wretched rock: on the uppermost part one has to get over rotten shale and limestone covered by loose, granular snow. The only measure here for protection is pegging, however, the reliability of the pegs here is incalculable. We reach the base of the Blacky with two pitches, then instead of climbing straight up on a suicidal direct line we choose a horizontal traverse to the right. There are about 60 m which separate us from the snowfields of the ridge giving the hope of safety.

Our first attempt is unsuccessful. This" time we lack the necessary determination for this risky climb. My crampons are sliding about and the edges of my axes rarely get caught in something while I rake the 70° steep shale. It's snowing since the morning so we prepare an early bivouac on a snow ridge protruding from the face. Complete white-out and the significant noise of frequent powdery snow avalanches raise our humour. We spend two nights in fog and snowfall, then realised: we have to move on. whether it snows or not Neither our supplies, nor these circumstances allow us longer waiting. Descending on the north face doesn't count, so we try the traverse again. That proves to be the right way: soon we are out on the snowfield. In the meantime the weather is getting better and on the ridge there is everything different: sunshine and blue sky. A few enjoyable moments, too short for drying out my ice cube-like down sleeping-bag, but enough to rearrange our frozen gear on the first horizontal place of the climb.

Our altitude is about 6700 m. The summit block glitters in the afternoon light and doesn't at all seem to be an easy task. The temperature is — 16°C emphasised by brisk wind as we prepare our highest bivouac at the place where our line joins the Thexton route (northwest couloir. 1979).

As we know, the Thexton route has about four successful ascents. On the exposed summit ridge of brittle grey limestone we find a few old belay anchors. After four uncomfortable pitches (V-V+) at 13.00 on 17 September we walk up to the corniced summit. Two tiny dots above the ocean of clouds which is penetrated only by the peaks close to 7000 m.

We are standing on the top of the Thalay Sagar. which is one of the most beautiful and most difficult mountains in the western Garhwak At this time this line on the north face is the only one in the Himalaya, which is a complete first ascent climbed by Hungarian mountaineers.

The descent is relatively fast, in a few hours we are down at the top of the northwest couloir. We plan to avoid an additional awkward night by walking down on the steep snow in the bright moonshine and keeping on to the base camp. On a broad couloir which leads straight towards the valley we lose easily further 300-400 m. However, this time we came to a deadlock. Suddenly the snow turns into 70° ice, then the ice disappears as well and there are only vertical rocks. It's dark and we decide to make our seventh bivouac instead of an adventurous descent.

In the morning we find ourselves on the top of a 300 m granite wall. The right couloir is the next towards west, but luckily we can reach the glacier at the expense of a few exposed rappels on excitingly nice slabs.

We feel really exhausted while walking on the moraine with shivering knees, but we begin to enjoy the experience of the trip. Sometimes a snapshot of the climb flashes through my mind irregularly as I jerk on the rocks.

We are moving down back to the weekdays, to the civilisation, to gather new reasons for coming to the mountains again.

Summary: The ascent of Thalay Sagar (6904 m) by the north face by Ihe Hungarian team. The summit was reached on 17 September, 1991.

Photo 52



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Diary of Ascent of Tribhuj, 5055 m


Friday, 17 May 1991

THIS WAS OUR MOST IDLE start to the day. We lounged in the sack until the sun hit the tent at about 8.15 a.m. We rose to a leisurely breakfast of tatties, peas and Polish bangers, lashings of tea and a smoke. The plan had been to gently plod up to Cl and go for the peak the following day, Saturday, 18th. As we munched our breakfast, the weather began to look ominous. Clouds were forming even this early in the day. and a heavy haze filled the valley. Alex and I both felt that a change was on its way and that the beautiful calm weather was rapidly coming to an end. Would our peak elude us after all ?

We packed up one more meal, the MSR cooker and our sleeping bag and were ready to set off at about 11 a.m. We roared up to Cl at a tremendous lick; Alex and I alternating the lead, taking breathers only to allow the other to come through and break trail. We reached Cl at 1 p.m. We had done 1220 m of climbing in just 2 hours. Quickly, we melted some snow, dug out our climbing equipment, and donned our climbing harnesses. At 2.15 we set off for the SE ridge.

The snow was in good condition for climbing, so crampons were not needed, I led off up the steepening snow, to pass underneath the 'Rhino Horn', an imposing but crumbling outcrop of rock. After 45 minutes we gained the ridge, about 150 m above Cl. PK, the liaison officer, was going well and Alex, photographing, followed PK. Alex and I were thrilled by the ridge. It was a real knife edge most of the way to the distant peak, about a mile to the NW. A straightforward and often helpful snow-cornice alternated with sections of rock, which had to be negotiated with care. The rock was rotten, easily flaked, and appeared to be held together by"Vio more than, mud, moss, a wish and a prayer.

After about 130 m of careful mixed snow, ice, and rock climbing along the ridge, I came across a steeper snow section on the north face. I hesitated slightly at moving across this unroped, and judging by how slowly PK was going, it occurred to me that he would definitely need to be roped. Alex arrived, slightly above me, and 1 said I thought we should rope up. He pointed out a delightful '2 way' cornice just above me, on the crest of the ridge which he promptly romped across. This was thrilling — we really were going to be able to remain unroped and, in this way, move much more quickly over the ridge. But as we continued PK was moving more slowly, and so he very generously told Alex and I to go on to the peak, and he would follow at his own pace.

This was it. Alex took the lead and fairly charged through. The peak was becoming less remote and impossible with every passing minute. We clambered carefully through two tricky rock sections which were separated by steep snow and ice. We both found that the hairy moment was passing from the snow and ice onto the rock where the snow had thinned to ice, and afforded no solid support for an ice axe. We moved on until we came to the final rock problem, which we had seen through bino's from below. We put our ice axes onto our rucsacs and I led off up horribly loose rock. I decided to commit to a route sticking close to the ridge crest, mainly because the rock looked a little more substantial. I made a 'Cincinnati or bust' move, bridging across to a solid enough looking rock rugosity — testing it as much as I dared with my boot. 1 reached up to another hold above, while Alex amiably discussed the merits of other routes, further to the right, which might have proved better. I pointed out that I was trying to concentrate, and since I was 100% committed I plunged on up, finding good holds on rock which one had to thoroughly test before pulling up. We were making good headway, the climbing became easier and in ten minutes we were through the rock problem and onto the last section leading to the summit. We were absolutely ecstatic — here was the elusive peak we had come so far to climb, and we were going to make it. A surge of excitement went through me as we made our way up the last 70 m to the summit. We shook hands and grinned broadly. We had cracked it in a tremendous 1760 m dash to the peak and it was still only about 4.15 p.m. The weather looked pretty ugly, and cloud intermittently swirled about us. We took photos of Nanda Ghunti and Trisul and posed for a summit photo with Alex's ensign held aloft (taken all around Britain on his Beneteau and all the way to the top of Tribhuj on his ice axe). After about 20 minutes we started back down the ridge.

Thalay Sagar (6904 m), new route by north face.

52. Thalay Sagar (6904 m), new route by north face. Note 10 (Peter Dekaur)

Peak 5595 m, near Sara Umga la.

53. Peak 5595 m, near Sara Umga la. Note 16 (Darren Miller)

Bularung Sar (7200 m), route of first ascent.

54. Bularung Sar (7200 m), route of first ascent. Note 18

Returning down the tricky rock section on rotten rock was thought provoking. We decided to stay unrcjped again, although Alex proposed lowering our packs. We found we could manage OK with the packs on and carefully descended our route through the jumbled rock. Alex carefully waited until I was out of the way, before following me down - concerned at the possibility of knocking down loose rock onto me. We quickly gained the snow again and hauled out the ice axes for the brisk climb back. We could see no sign of PK and began to be concerned. We called out for him, but heard or saw nothing. The cloud in the SE was turning ominously black and was swirling up the SE face of Tribhuj — causing a dramatic column of black cloud to our right. Distant thunder made us quicken the pace. Suddenly my eyebrows started to prickle. I thought the wool on my balaclava was scratching me, but whatever I did, my eyebrows tingled and itched. Then a strange humming sound appeared in my ears, as if my head were inside a transistor radio. I suddenly realised we were in an electric storm and the air was thick with volts. I warned Alex and we charged on down the ridge going as fast as we could. His ice axe was actually buzzing, and he could change the tone by revolving the shaft. 1 knew that one should sit on one's rucksac and lay all metal objects a good 15 m away in an electric storm, but fortunately the storm was moving away to the SE and it was safer for us to keep moving down as fast as possible.

There was still no sign of PK, and Alex said he could see no returning footprints along the ridge. We had hoped and assumed that, seeing that the peak was going to elude him, he would return to the safety of the tent at Cl — only 30 minutes away, retracing our steps over relatively easy ground. But we began to fear the worst — he must have fallen.

The weather was quickly closing in when we reached the tent. Snow was falling, and within minutes there was a complete white-out — we could hardly see 10 yards. We had made it back to Cl just in time. The tent was empty. PK's sleeping bag,, mug, toothbrush, and sundry clothes were sitting harmlessly neglected in a corner. It was eery. What had become of PK? Our spirits sank, our enthusiasm vanished and we began a sombre evening and night, discussing what might have happened and what we should do. We were virtually convinced that PK had fallen and was dead. The only other possibility was that he had fallen so far down the snow slopes of the north face that he, in surviving, would have staggered off down to base camp.

Quietly I cooked up some smash, sardines in sauce and peas. Although the food boiled and steamed, it was cold when we ate it — an odd tasting type of glue with semi-softened peas crunching in the thin smash. We then set to work to melt snow. We suffered quite badly from altitude headaches and found that drinking water was the only help. I set myself up by the MSR in the bell end of the tent, while Alex passed cupfulls of snow from the other end, a laborious and cold business — it was about -15°C and still snowing. While melting snow into precious water during the night, one of my richly smelling socks fell into the billy of boiling water. True to form, Alex was more concerned for my sock than for the state of the water and offered me a dry pair for the morning. In fact, the water was anyway appearing in our cups with an assortment of potato pieces and mushy peas. At about 12.00 we finally managed to get some sleep — keeping our boots in our sleeping bags to avoid frozen boots in the morning. Two codeine tabs each had worked wonders for our heads. In the night the snow stopped to give way to a beautiful clear sky and prospect of a safe return to base camp.

Saturday, 18 May 1991

Alex thought that if PK was not in base camp, we should do nothing but call the British Embassy as soon as possible. This was obviously the best solution in the short term, and the Embassy would tell the IMF, who no doubt would inform the army to send helicopters and search teams. With the sun shining and with magnificent views all around from Cl, we were both more optimistic. We felt that PK was so careful on the mountain, the last thing that would have happened was that he had fallen off. We could only know when we returned to base camp.

With the sun on the tent we raised ourselves and brewed up some very welcome tea. There was now a pile of clobber, including PK's, so we set to work packing our rucksacs as best we could to lug this huge load down to base camp. This was all in progress — very much in sombre, foreboding mood, when Bhagad appeared over the crest, climbing towards us. We both tried to read the news in the straight, almost glum expression on his face. But then, I saw PK's green rucksac and I thought he must be in base camp and probably injured — but how badly? Alex and I asked in unison — 'how is PK?' 'Oh PK's fine', came the answer — thank God.

We loaded up Bhagad's rucksac and gently set off down the mountain, leaving nothing but footprints and taking nothing but some amazing memories and a few dramatic photographs. It had been a sensational experience, with high drama indeed. The soft powder snow covered the hard, old snow, and even on the relatively gentle slopes we occasionally slipped if we weren't careful. The mountains all around were plastered with this fine powder snow, and the splendour of their rocky flanks was even more enhanced. Tribhuj was similarly covered, and although it would have been a great morning to summit the mountain, the powder over the icy old snow would have been hazardous and extremely prone to avalanche. Alex and I were satisfied we had grabbed our chance at the right moment, and achieved our success against all the signs of a protracted spell of bad weather. The snow had been in good condition and we were right to have judged that we could make a safe and fast bid for the summit.

PK greeted us warmly when we reached base camp, and we were both delighted, and even slightly bemused to see him actually standing there, fit and well. Only twelve hours before we had been convinced of the vision of his broken body lying of the SE face, or buried in snow somewhere on the NE snowfields, then, only 3 hours before we were certain, at the very least, he was lying badly injured in base camp. What a sensational turn-around to our most dreadful of forebodings. The rest of the crew smiled kindly and returned my wave of greeting. Don Quixote acknowledged our success with a friendly nod. No tea was presented to these famous summiteers. Alex noted this with some horror, and rather too soon, my nerves were set on edge as I was invited yet again to immerse myself in kerosene and fire up the MSR for another brew. I had contracted a stinking sore throat and cough from PK, and a night vigil in the freezing draught of a tent door at 4570 m hadn't helped matters.

The camp was packing up to leave for Lata Gobera, south towards Sutol. The weather was looking ominous again and the crew didn't fancy another night in the snow. Available dead wood as well as constantly flowing water was now a more enticing prospect — especially if it was lower down in the warm forest of Lata Gobera. We packed up as well; and lounged around in the cold wind alternately listening to Mozart, gazing at the serried ranks around us, and plodding about the 'kitchen' while the crew ate their lunch.

At last, we were all fed and watered by about 1.30 p.m., and the assembled cavalcade set off back down the glacial moraine towards the Nandakini river, leaving the Silasamudar glacier and towering walls of Trisul behind us. Soon we were again crossing the snow-filled river gullies, and the porters were showing even more contempt for the exposure. Kal apparently took an unexpected fall, or slide, of about 10 m which wiped the grin off his face; while Lai, who was just behind, couldn't resist taking the Mickey by sitting on his load and playfully sliding down to where Kal had fallen. It was at this spot on the upward journey that I had been cutting steps across the snow, and we had seen two mountain cats racing down the river banks, while two deers launched themselves up 150 m of virtually sheer mountain side. We were also visited in base camp by a small herd of deer which could be seen silhouetted. against the night sky — the antlers of the big stag animal showing clearly.

We descended rapidly along the Nandakini valley until, hotter and hungrier, I came out at our previous camp site amongst the wild strawberries and buttercups of Lata Gobera. There was Alex, lounging on the grass, expectantly awaiting the rest of the crew, our tent and a cup of tea. Not a bit of it. We were to march on for another mile or so to a wonderful camp site in the jungle, amongst moss covered trees and bamboo. This time I was quick enough to the porter's fire to ensure a cup of tea 'dudh nahi' (without milk) and a damn good cup it was. Alex and I Invited PK to join us for some eats and the porters helped us pitch camp a little up the hill on a flat spot. The place was thick with midges, so Alex fixed them completely with an ingenious array of Moskil burners. The whole tent area was cordoned with these smoking burners, and very quickly we were all enjoying a totaF exclusion zone from the infernal midge.

While I cooked up some tuna and Brazil nuts, Alex cracked open his hip flask and salted peanuts. We celebrated the climb which we had been too sombre to celebrate the night before. Kal and Krisan joined in the fun, downing their drams in one. Only young Lai declined the Scottish nectar — probably because we had already added water to his nip. Bhagad soon appeared and, having been invited to join the assembled company, he damn near stole the family silver. He climbed into Alex's precious peanuts with great handfuls, handed round my dwindling smokes and clamped his fist round the hip flask like a drowning man. All these goodies disappeared from view in quick time while Alex mumbled something about impropriety and what might happen to Bhagad if the peanuts should run out before Gwaldam!

PK joined us for dinner, and we heard what had actually happened to him. He had indeed sat down to wait for us on the ridge (as we had expected) and had even had a smoke. After 15 minutes we had not (of course) returned and he was getting cold. He followed us for another 20 m or so and came to an unpleasant rock pitch. He was getting dizzy and suffered from the altitude with a bad headache. Since he was dizzy he was frightened of returning along the ridge to the tent in case he might fall. Instead, he decided to plug for the steep snow slope leading down the NE face. But, to get to the snow slope he had to cross a slab of rock with virtually no hand or foot holds. In despair, he decided to launch himself over the slab and onto the snow, hoping that he could stop himself with an ice axe arrest. So, he threw himself off the ridge onto the snow little below. After a slide of about 5 m he managed to stop himself, and then made his way down on the steep snow to base camp. He had stopped once to wave an orange sacrf at us, but we never saw it and were therefore at a loss to know, until Saturday morning, what had happened to him.

So after just three days, we had left Tribhuj far behind, following a successful climb. We were the first British to stand on its summit and only the second team to climb the mountain. The Czechs had climbed Tribhuj in 1985 and this was confirmed to us by a local guide who had himself led a British team on Trisul in 1978.

Summary: An ascent of Tribhuj (5055 m) in Garhwal on 17 May 1991 by a British team. The peak lies near the famous Rupkund lake.



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12. 11 ATM PARBAT, 1991


HATHI PARBAT (6727 m) is located in the Garhwal Himalaya of Uttar Pradesh (east of Hemkund Sahib). It is the highest peak in this massif. Its summit is clearly visible from Pipal Koti, Auli and Bhullandhar where a memorial stands testimony to 9 (Indep) Mountain Brigade Group of Indian army in memory of their five climbers, who died on this mountain in September 1990. There are two routes to approach the mountain. One is from the south and the other from the north. One or two attempts were made to approach the mountain from the north, but they petered out before getting anywhere near the mountain. The mountain was first climbed in 1963 by an Indian team led by Sonam Gyatso.1 The peak was next scaled in September 1990 by eight climbers from 9 (Indep) Mountain Brigade Group led by Colonel Kanwar Prabhat Singh of Garhwal Scouts. Unfortunately, five of these climbers lost their lives in a devastating avalanche after climbing the peak. Our expedition took the southwestern approach as taken by the earlier expedition of 1990.


  1. See HC Newsletter 21, p. 5. On 6 and 7 June 1963, seven persons reached the summit, route not specified, Hathi Parbat was also attempted in 1965 by a team from St. Stephen's College, led by Gyan Chand (See HCNL 24, p. 1).
    Earlier in 1939 a Swiss team led by Andre Roch approached the group from the Kosa glacier in the east and climbed Ghori Parbat (6708 m). They published an excellent report and photo of Hathi Parbat (6727 m), which they did not attempt. (See H.J. Vol. XII p. 38). The 1990 and 1991 Indian army teams approached from the west.


Roadhead camp (Govind Ghat)

Finally, after sorting out all the administrative problems and drawing rations from the supply depot at Joshimath, we established roadhead camp on 1 June 1991 at Govind Ghat near the famous Govind Ghat gurudwara. Govind Ghat lies mid-way on the road from Joshimath to Badrinath. The gurudwara authorities were kind enough to allot a room to us.

Intermediate base camp 1 (Bhullandhar) (2515 m)

Located at village Bhullandhar, the camp was occupied on 14 June. The village is nestled cozily on the Govind Ghat track to Hemkund Sahib and is 9 km from Govind Ghat. A mule track exists from Govind Ghat to Bhullandhar. The track was busy with pilgrims going to and from Hemkund. Mules were used to ferry the bulk of the loads. We managed to get a room to dump our loads in the village. Later a high frequency radio station was established here and lasted till the end of the expedition.

Intermediate base camp 2 (Semartoli) (3330 m)

Located, at Semartoli approximately 9 km from Bhullandhar. It took us three houts to reach this camp from Bhullandhar village. There is only a foottrack to Semartoli. We started ferrying loads on 5 June and the camp was fully established on 7 June. Passing mostly through thick jungle seven tons of ration was taken on goats straight to base camp, with a night halt at Semartoli. The remaining loads were ferried by members and porters.

On reaching intermediate base camp 2. ferrying of loads started from Bhullandhar and simultaneously from here to base camp. This camp is a small flat greeny patch on the northern bank of Bhyundar ganga. This camp was occupied till 10 June, basically for dumping loads because the distance to base camp was too much to cover in one day at this stage and for acclimatization. This camp was completely abandoned on 10 June. Hereafter, we went straight from Bhullandhar to base camp and vice versa. This place is also used as a base camp for training by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. When we reached, they were on the last phase of their training. We managed to borrow six ropes, a medium and two small tents from them.

Base camp (3825 m)

This camp was occupied on 7 June and fully established on 10 June. It was located 5 km from Semartoli (3 km upto Dang Kharak and 2 km further). It takes 2 hours to cover the distance from Semartoli. After, acclimatization all members could even make two ferries to base camp.

Camp 1 (4205 m)

Rather .than follow the glacier route like the previous expedition had done, we from the beginning took to the steep grassy slopes and rock. The members did find the gradient difficult and the rock tested their ability in rock craft to the optimum. But gradually they got used to it and were able to cover the distance to Cl in two hours. Cl was established on 12 June. The camp was on a ridge with nalas of snow on both sides. Water was available next to a rock when the sun came up. While going to Cl, we crossed the fringes of the glacier and a nala of snow, but kept off the actual glacier.

Camp 2 (5610 m)

C2 was established and occupied on 14 June on a difficult rock route. A rock with markings and some equipment of the old expedition were found. A day was spent to identify a different approach to avoid the glacier. The camp site was similar to Cl with glacial nalas on both sides. At midday ice started melting and water flowed in a stream. The time taken to reach C2 was two and half hours.

Camp 3 (6157 m)

While C2 was being stocked, the route was being opened to C3. This route involved crossing a nala which was subjected to frequent avalanches with large masses of unstable ice falling off the hanging glacier on top. The avalanches would come roaring down and then when the ice had shattered into smaller pieces due to the impact, it would flow down the nala with tremendous speed for three to four minutes. This was a dangerous patch and one member always kept watch while the others crossed. The route then passed over a steep rock face of about 400 m height, where ropes had been fixed. Till the top of this rock face, we had avoided the real glacier and some members had even reached this place in jungle boots. But hereafter, there was no avoiding the glacier. Further climbing had to be done through the glacier after crossing the icefall. Thus this place became the "crampon point'. A large number of members had never put on crampons, so they faced a lot of difficulty in putting on crampons and marching, on the ice. This hampered their speed and the progress was very slow.

On 17 June at 10 a.m. when the weather cleared a party of seven was sent to establish and occupy C3.

This party of novices was heavily loaded and most of them had problems in crossing the icefall, leading into the glacier. This party got benighted and were forced to establish camp about 800 m short of the col. On 18 June the climatic conditions were extremely poor. However, it cleared a little in the evening and two members namely L Nk Shingara Singh and Gnr Satyapal Singh were ordered to go for a reconnaissance of the route ahead. They fixed four rapelling ropes, amounting to 250 m in length and after trudging in the snow and ice for one hour, they crossed the col and reached the snowfield. This was the place where C3 was to be actually established. On 19 June the weather became even worse and the radio predicted further deterioration the next day. The rations at C3 had been consumed and the party was exhausted. Having foreseen the weather instability and administrative back up the expedition was called off.

Contrary to prediction, 20 June dawned as a very bright and clear day. Given more time and after reorganisation, the peak which was just four to five hours away from us, would certainly have been climbed, but then it was a matter of taking a chance. After all mountaineering is not a war, it is a gentlemen's sport and at times success lies in mere survival. It was satisfying that there was no major accident or case of cold injury. The highest point reached was over 6400 m.

Summary: An attempt on Hathi Parbat (6727 m) by an Indian Army team in June 1991. They reached 6400 m.



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IN OUR CONTINUED EFFORT to encourage a spirit of good fellowship among the lovers of adventure and outdoor life, in May 1991 the young Welhamites' followed the Curzon's Trail. Eleven young girls all in their early teens set out to study the mountains, forests and the peakscape of the eastern Garhwal Himalaya.

Often known as the 'Curzon Trail', the trek to Kuari pass is considered by many to be very beautiful in the Garhwal Himalaya. Lord Curzon went upto the Kuari, 'the doorway' in the year 1905, and thus the name. A wonderland for trekkers, with rich exotic flora and fauna, besides primitive jungle with associated hazards. There were tents to pitch, food to cook, loads to carry and snow craft too. Whether it was the wild edible lingra plant we had for dinner, or the sheer experience of testing one's weight carrying ability, it was good exposure for our amateurs!

We approached the Kuari, from the south. The goat track is frequented by the shepherds on their traverse from Ghat to Tapovan. Ghat, on the confluence of the Nandakini river and the Jupla nala is 18 km east of Nandaprayag (the confluence of Alaknanda and Nandakini rivers). This roadhead is the supply line for the trail, is electrified and has an intermediate level school too.

We left Ghat on 19 May 1991, to begin our 'wave-like' trek, crossing two ridges and three valleys. Every climb was higher and the final ascent from Dhakwani was its culmination. Ghat at 1331 m in the Nandakini valley is the ebb and the Kuari at 3700 m the limit of the tide. The trek to Ramni, our halt for the second night was from Ghat across the Bota khal, and the initial slopes are the best landmark for navigation, as it is from here that the route changes direction to move eastward along the mountain side to negotiate a pass at 2500 m. The north slope and the subsequent ascent to Ramni is through woods, where one always looks into the map and doubts one's direction, in and out, gap after gap to make it to Ramni after a very long day's haul.

Ramni to Sem Kharak is a steep climb in the wild jungle where the multi-hued monal pheasant is still to be seen screaming downhill as the rustle of leaves disturbs his powerful digging claws. From Chechni Binayak at the top of the ridge, you get the first view of the heights ahead. The rapid downhill path brings you down to Thenapani and the spectacular suspension bridge near this tiny village, slung across the Birehi ganga, is one of the wildest spots imaginable.

Baintha Brakk group from southeast.

55. Baintha Brakk group from southeast. BC: 4700 m, I Ogre’s Thumb (c, 5800 m), II: Ogre II (6960 m), W: Ogre West (7225 m), H: main peak (7285 m), E: East peak. Note 19 (H. Lanters)

Baintha Brakk (Ogre), south face and south pillar.

56. Baintha Brakk (Ogre), south face and south pillar. Note 19 (H. Lanters)

Saraghrar East face, viewed from Sucai Zom North, M: main peak 7349 m, N:north peak 7040 m.

57. Saraghrar East face, viewed from Sucai Zom North, M: main peak 7349 m, N:north peak 7040 m. Note 20 (Addf Rottach)

From the suspension bridge upto the, fly infested Pana, is a tough climb of about 700 m over a distance of 4 km only. In fact, when we were descending into the gorge towards Thenapani, on seeing the path moving up vertically, we almost gave up the idea of moving ahead, and were tempted to make an exit along the Birehi valley on to Chamoli on the Rishikesh — Badrinath highway.

Pana is probably the haven of the common fly. All thanks to the T.A.B.C. shots we took before the trek, surprisingly we were able to go through without cholera or any other sickness. Every family in the village had at least two of its members suffering from fever or cholera. Next morning when we moved up higher and reached a beautiful meadow in just one hour's time, all of us regretted our decision to camp at Pana, as we could have easily avoided the horrible fly-land.

The last village of Pana announces the start of the most difficult portion of the trek upto the pass. The trail winds up through magnificent varied crag and forest scenery, making you forget the exertion. Having planned to camp at Dhakwani, a shepherd's lodge, but at 4 p.m. famished and broken down, the meadows still seemed beyond reach. The multi-coloured mountain sides with a mix of rhododendrons, in bloom from pink to wine red and lilac, were no consolation and our spirits were at the lowest. The cloud burst, on the final slopes up to Dhakwani from Pui gadhera did break us down. One group at the tail end decided to camp an hour short of the planned camp site. This lot took shelter on a ledge below a rocky outcrop. The stream down below coupled with the winds eluded the comfort of sleep, despite the hard day gone by, and we would do anything to get some rest.

The crags near Dhakwani seemed a mighty challenge for any ardent rock climber. From this camp upto the horns of the Kuari is all rock and scree, making the height gain seem even more difficult. Kuari eluded us to the last step, and even having reached, the height gain, we were not really sure! The path ahead in fact is a gradual uphill traverse along the northeast ridge and so the deception.

Standing at the Kuari pass at 3700 m facing north, the vision sweeps from the gorges of Trisul in the east to the peaks of Kedarnath in the west Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Kamet, Ghori Parbat, Nanda Devi, Bethartoli, Dunagiri — all arranged in a stupendous arc….Southwards the foothills stretch wave upon wave on to the dim haze of the distant plains. This blinding vision of the snow peaks, makes all effort worth its while, for this is one of the most beautiful mountain views one can possibly see.

Down into the Dhauli ganga valley lay Tapovan. The descent made our knees knock and many did somersault too! There was no casualty and we all ended up feeling like patients suffering from arthritis in the knees. The entire descent had to be done with a night halt at Kakhara, as it was not possible to stay to our original plan of doing the 22 km descent to Tapovan in one day. Our last camp at Kakhara, was again a "chauni', shepherds lodging and another paradise for the bird watchers. The cawing of the monal pheasant and the distant sound of a few sheep which were presumably lost, made it quite a noisy site. The chir pines and the deodars along with the multiple hues of rhododendrons made the catnp site exquisite. In the evening a grand meal of halwa and puri beside a small bon fire of dead wood, which was in abundance, was a befitting finale to the successful project. On the last day, the tumble down the hill side brought us to Dhak via Raigri, in time to catch the bus for Gopeshwar, for the onward journey back to Dehra Dun.

The area is good trekking country, and the height gained does not necessarily require any acclimatization. It is a challenging opportunity for the amateurs and the rough country has a lot in store for the experienced ones too. The best time to do the trek is in the months of May and June, as there is practically no snow, except a little on the northerly slopes which is very easily negotiable without any equipment.

Summary: A trek across Kuari pass 3700 m, Garhwal in May 1991 by girls from Welham School. Dehra Dun.



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ON 2 AUGUST, WE STARTED our approach march to Bhrigupanth base camp. We halted at Bhoj Kharak and the next day instead of halting at Kedar Kharak. straightway headed for the base camp at Kedar Tal.

On 4 August, Dr. Mate opened the route to the advance base camp and the next two days were spent in stocking the ABC. On the 7th, we occupied ABC. Base camp members ferried the loads to ABC. On the 8th, our lead climbers. Dr. Mate and Milind Pote opened the route to Cl (5580 m). We selected the site of Arlene Blum's 1980 American expedition's 'snowdome' as our Cl.1 The route is crevasse laden and avalanche-prone.


  1. See H.J. Vol. 41, p. 175. — Ed.


On 11 August, Milind, Sangay Sherpa and Sangay Dorjee occupied Cl. In all these days, the weather was cloudy and there used to be heavy snowfall at the higher camps and torrential rains below ABC. We fixed around 275 m of rope in the gully between Bhrigupanth and Thalay Sagar. On the 13th, the weather deteriorated further. There was heavy snowfall throughout the night of 12 August. Early in the morning of the 13th, an avalanche triggered off from the north face of Thalay Sagar and almost hit Cl. Dr. Mate and the leader had occupied Cl by now and he decided to retreat to ABC because of the fear of further avalanches. After reaching ABC. the weather had deteriorated further so they returned to BC.

Late in the evening of 15 August, Dr. Mate, Mohan Patel, Sanjay Katti, Vasant Karle, Sanjay Kadam, Milind Pote, Pasang and Nima occupied ABC. Next day, the climbers occupied Cl but could not make much progress for the fear of avalanches in the gully. The gully is dangerously-prone to frequent rock-falls and almost everyone of us was hit by the falling stones at some time or the other. In all 760 m of rope was fixed to the col. After reaching the top of the col. we had to descend some 90 m, down on the other side to reach a wide plateau flanked by Bhrigupanth, Thalay Sagar and Meru. Some of our porters refused to ferry loads beyond, stating that the gully was a road to hell.

On 22nd, inspite of a wound on my skull due to a rock-hit, I decided to press on and we occupied C3 (6430 m) at the base of the rocky east face of Bhrigupanth. The route was through a network of crevasses and rose very steeply near the camp site. The site of C3 was dangerous because of stone-falls from the rotten rocks above. We pitched two tents here and had a glimpse of the breath-taking panorama around.

On 23 August, we decided to go for the summit. Wind velocity was alarming and it was not until 6 a.m. that we could prepare water in the tents which seemed as if they were about to be blown away. By 7 a.m. we left our camp and forced ourselves out in the freezing cold. We decided to tackle the rocky portion nearing the east face instead of the American route which traversed to the left in snow. The firm ice provided excellent opportunities for front pointing and we felt very safe and secure till the initial gradient of 60° steepened to 75c-80° at a few pitches. Soft snow blown away by the wind hammered into our faces. Climbing rock at a few stretches was very frightening because of the rotten and loose rocks. We fixed up around 250 m of rope that day. It was 12 noon, when the weather worsened. There was no more rope left so we called off climbing for the day. It was necessary to bring more rope from ABC. By the time we reached C3, the snowfall had collapsed our tents. No one wished to face the fury of a storm hitting us at C3 so we fought our way and reached C2. Dr. Mate stayed there with Sangay Sherpa and Sangay Dorjee while Mohan Patel and I went down to Cl.

26 August dawned with unusually clear weather. The summit team made rapid progress on the fixed ropes. All of us at C2 could see the tiny dots moving one by one on the steep south face. The summit party fixed up another 60 m of rope to reach the col near the summit crown of Bhrigupanth. We could see from C2 each one of the summit team climbing on the ridge leading to the main summit. When we saw the first climber (who was Dr. Mate as we came to know later) reaching the summit (6772 m) it was a great moment. We were all the eye-witnesses to this ascent of Bhrigupanth. We could also watch their descent till C3.

On 27th August, the second summit party consisting of Milind Pote, Sanjay Katti, Anwar Mudarris, Ms. Katti, and Vasant Karle and myself occupied C3 in the evening.

On 28 August, the morning was clear, although windy. We made brisk progress on the face. Ms. Katti was not well and was troubled by her over-sized climbing shoes so she dropped out of the summit attempt just 120 m below the summit. The summit is pointed and the great ridges of Bhrigupanth spread towards the north and west from the summit.

We could have a glimpse of the great north ridge of Bhrigupanth which in 1983 had killed two Taiwanese climbers and a Sherpa and which had defeated our attempt in 1989. One by one, Pote, Mudarris, Karle, and Sanjay Katti and myself followed foot-steps to the summit.

On the 29th, the third summit attempt was futile because of adverse weather conditions. On 30 August, Kadam, Sujata, Nima and Pasang, inspite of continued bad weather, managed to reach the summit. On reaching C3, Sujata fell sick. 31 August and 1 September saw the most hectic activities in the mountains. After lot of difficulties, Sujata was safely brought down and the camp winding up operations continued till 1 a.m. in the morning of 2 September. Everyone of us carried over 50 kg of loads but reached safely with sore shoulders but in very high spirits.

Summary: The ascent of Bhrigupanth (6772 m) by the south ridge by an Indian team. Peak was climbed on 26, 28 and 30 August 1990.



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LEAVING BOMBAY ON 10 August, by train to Dehra Dun and later travelling by a bus the team reached the roadhead at Sankri on 13 August. The team reached Har-ki-dun in three stages. Har-ki-dun stood up to its reputation of being one of the most scenic spots in the valley. Before descending to Seema, we made a quick visit to Maninda gad valley north of Har-ki-dun. At the head of this valley lies Borasu pass leading to Kinnaur.

On 18 August all of us walked to the green meadows of Dapsu plateau and established a base camp at Kiarkoti (4100 m) on 19 August. Thereafter barring a few clear mornings, we had to suffer out long spells of drizzles at low altitudes and snowfall at higher altitudes as the delayed monsoon caught us on the wrong foot. The most useful item of gear turned out to be an umbrella, which found its use practically every day.

Swargarohini I (6252 m), route at attempt by south face.

Swargarohini I (6252 m), route at attempt by south face. (Arun Samant)

After a rest day at the base camp, we spent 21 to 25 August acclimatising by initially climbing up to observe the route of the first ascent of Swargarohini I by N.I.M. instructors1 and later on going up and staying at a higher camp (4600 m), which was below Barasukha peak on the route of Kalanag. From this camp one day we climbed across lateral moraine of the Kalanag icefall to its top (5000 m) and the next day to the top of the east ridge (5200 m) of Barasukha peak.

The south face of Swargarohini has hanging seracs at the top, which periodically send down huge avalanches. This was the main reason for acclimatising elsewhere while continuously keeping one eye on the face to look for its weaknesses as well as to select a line least threatened by avalanches. Ultimately we decided to follow a prominent funnel shaped snow-gully descending down to a little above the base camp. At the top of this gully, there appeared to be a small, flat snowfield, where we proposed to place a summit camp. A route to the east-west summit ridge would be over a rising broken snowfield. The major problems ended there. A route over the broad summit ridge to the summit was an easy snow-plod at a gradient of about 20°, except for the last 5 m of summit cornice left unclimbed by N.I.M. instructors.2


  1. See H.J. Vol. 47, p. 57 for the first ascent route and previous history. — Ed.
  2. See 'Correspondence' in the present issue. — Ed.


Arun and two porters left early on 27 August with some loads to have a closer look at the proposed route and to look for a suitable camp site. The party crossed a stream originating from the snow-gully above the base camp and climbed up grassy slopes and later scree slopes maintaining a safe distance from the gully as rockfalls had been observed in its lower portion. At about 4900 m the gully became very narrow and was guarded by a band of 200 m high rock walls on both sides. We skirted to our right at the bottom of the wall, climbed up, traversed to our left on a narrow ledge and were surprised to find a small flat ground sufficient to accommodate one tent at an edge of the gully. We named it 'shooting alley' camp (5000 m). During afternoons and evenings, all sizes of rocks pealing off from side walls of the gully used to shoot down bouncing from one side to another. Loads were dumped at this place and we climbed up the rest of the wall to the start of a ridge forming the true left lip of the gully. The ridge did not look difficult, but about 100 m higher up a tall gendarme blocked the view.

The next day all of us reached the 'shooting alley' camp in four hours carrying heavy loads. Anil and Surat Singh went back to the base camp, whereas Arun and Vasudev Singh occupied the camp. It had rained heavily during the night and early morning and the rocks were slippery. Arun and Vasudev Singh leaving the tent at 6.30 a.m. reached the high point. The ridge further up did not pose any serious problem. The gendarme was turned from the right and the ridge regained. A little further the route was blocked by a huge boulder, overcome by us by an exposed traverse and a straight forward upward push, aided by fixed rope of 50 m.

We wound up the 'shooting alley' camp early next morning and started with heavy rucksacks. Meanwhile the weather was turning bad as we continued climbing in snow and reached the base of the second rock band. By this time we had been climbing for six hours and were tired and we could hardly see beyond 10 m in driving snow. We struggled for an hour to level a small sloping snow-patch at the bottom of the wall. The tent was pitched precariously. Snow kept falling throughout the night. At 7.30 a.m. the weather suddenly cleared with bright sunshine. We wound up the camp quickly and roped up to ascend the wall. But soon clouds enveloped us again and it started snowing. After five rappels using rock spikes peeping out of the snow, we reached the base of the boulder and to the base camp.

Swargarohini IV (5996 m ) and the col leading to peak I

Swargarohini IV (5996 m ) and the col leading to peak I. (Arun Samant)

We returned to this camp on 2 September and got ready to jumar up the boulder at 8 a.m. on the 3rd. It was a clear morning and we were determined to push the route. Suddenly a small disaster struck us. A tiny stone made a bull's eye hit at the exact time I removed my helmet to scratch my head. A real coincidence! A two centimeter cut on my scalp bled profusely with a new lesson learnt — never scratch your head on a mountain. In two hours we reached the bottom of the second rock band which was about 80 m high. This was the crux pitch and Vasudev Singh led. He followed a mixture of downward sloping holds on the wall and entered a wide vertical chimney, which later sloped upwards to the top of the wall. We gained the snow ridge above the wall and followed it upto nearly the top of the funnel of the gully and camped on the ridge at 12.30 a.m. as by then clouds had come up obscuring our view beyond. The estimated height of the camp was 5650 m.

On 4 September we got up early. Vasudev Singh and myself started off at 5.15 a.m. for the summit. After a few steps from the tent, the ridge was 70° steep, and was crossed by two narrow crevasses. It was a cold morning, snow-crust was in excellent condition for front-pointing and I climbed on. Vasudev Singh led the second pitch by traversing on to the side of the ridge and later climbing it up to the small flat snow-patch at the top of the snow-gully. This was the spot where we had intended to place our summit camp. The route from here onward was over the steep broken snowfield at a gradient varying between 50° and 70°. There was another possible route over an unbroken snow-slope, which had the same gradient. However, we avoided it as it was just below hanging seracs. At 9.15 a.m. we reached below the snow-saddle we had decided to reach. To our dismay, the lower edge of the snow-saddle was a huge cornice with tall icicles hanging from it. The roof of the cornice was 3 m above us. If we could climb on top of it, a gentle slope would have led us to the broad summit ridge to join the N.I.M. route and then to the summit. However, we could not find any feasible way to climb it.

We traversed under the saddle to our left and found a very narrow ledge, traverse going up towards the summit ridge with one of the seracs leaning over it. Though it appeared safe at that time, it would have been a deathtrap while returning when the sun would be high up in the sky. We traversed still further to our left, descended and crossed a snow-slope at its top, which we had avoided in the early morning. We climbed up to a rocky outcrop. We were nearly in the middle of the face now. We had spotted a passage in between two seracs further to our left and hoped to find a connection. However, there was none. It was a near "vertical drop right upto the base camp. We had exhausted all our alternatives and found no safe exit to the summit ridge. The highest point reached was just below the snow-saddle at an estimated altitude of 5900 m, about 20 m below the top of the eastwest broad summit ridge. Next day we retreated to the base camp, defeated but more important, safe. Within our limited resources, we had succeeded in completing a new route on the south face but for few metres of a dangerous traverse.

We spent 6 September at the base camp waiting for two local porters from Osla to come up and accompany us over the Barasukha pass (5300 m). On 8th we left early at 6 a.m. climbed up along the side of Kalanag icefall and reached its top at 9.00 a.m. We crossed snowfields and across very loose scree slopes of Barasukha ridge to reach the pass at 1 p.m. amidst snowfall. Probably the correct route goes along the bottom of the scree slope and later climbs up to the pass. There are two rock towers on the ridge and the ridge is crossed from the bottom of these at two places as could be seen from many rock spikes erected in memory of gods and godesses. The descent on the Lamkhaga side was tricky and we had to glissade over muddy slopes at few places. A proper camping ground could be reached only at 6 p.m.

After a heavy lunch the next day we went down for three hours to a place just above the crossing point of Sian gad and camped on a meadow. On 10 September we crossed the Sian gad early morning and marched for eleven hours along the Sian gad on its left bank. This part of the route goes across beautiful green meadows, through thick conifer forest, and at the end climbs up on the left bank cliff and then steeply descends to a bridge. We crossed the bridge over Sian gad at 5 p.m., reached Zala village at 6 p.m. and were back to civilisation.

Summary: An attempt on Swargarohini I (6252 m) by the south face reaching 5900 m. The party returned over Barasukha pass (5300 m) to Sian gad and Zala, in September 1991.

Members: Arun Samant (leader) and Anil Chavan, supported by Vasudev Singh Rawat and Surat Singh Rawat.

Sponsored by: The Himalayan Club and The Holiday Hiker's Club, Bombay.



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THE TEAM DESCENDED to base camp from Cl on Dharamsura (White Sail) (6446 m). After reaching a high point of approximately 5300 m, the attempt was abandoned because of the continuous snow falls over a period of three days which confined us to our tents. Over a meter of snow had fallen which made a summit attempt too difficult (and dangerous) and made the descent through deep snow slow and risky because of the now hidden crevasses.

As we sat out the snow falls we made alternate plans. After three days of snow, our only option was to try for the unclimbed mountain to the west of the Sara Umga pass. This peak was marked as point 5595 m on our map.

Looking at the mountain from base camp, there appeared to be a rock and snow dome summit. It was decided to attempt the peak via the south face. This would necessitate climbing up two ice-gullies separated by a tricky rock band. Then climbing a final rock band to the summit. Luckily the weather improved after a few days and we were able to set off down the now familiar moraine wall of the Tos glacier. We travelled up the Tos glacier to its junction with the east Tos. We moved up the Tos glacier and climbed the steep moraine wall to the foot of peak 5595 m.

It was here that the porters were to drop their loads and head back to base before night fall, while the rest of us set up Cl.

After setting up Cl and cooking our usual rice and tuna evening meal, a Terry Ryan speciality, a great explosion was heard on the near by mountain called the Sentinel. Looking up we could see huge rocks (the size of cars) rolling down the face. The noise was frightening. Almost as frightening as Terry's cries of 'run' as the boulders got closer. The rocks stopped short of the boulder we'd all managed to hide behind. So we returned back to our now cold noodles with our hearts in our mouths. Smaller falls continued for a number of hours. The next morning we looked up at peak 5595 m and convinced ourselves that there was no way such a thing could happen on it.

The plan for the next day was to get up to the top of the snow-ramp to the col and set another camp up near the first of the ice-gullies. It was from here that we'd hoped to set off, weather permitting, in the early hours of the next morning for the summit.

The next day dawned cloudy for our try up to the col. We were a couple of hours up the snow ramp when another huge explosion was heard, this time on 5595 m! Looking up over to the left, we could see boulders heading down the couloir a little too close for comfort, again we scrambled over to hide behind another rock wall, a technique we'd practised the day before. Thankfully they passed by us, though if we'd set off ajjout half an hour earlier we may not have been so lucky!

Adrenalin was running high afterwards and it was comforting to find a safe spot for C2 at the top of the col. We could just make out the rock summit of 5595 m some 670 m above us. The feeling around the camp was that maybe it was too far to travel in one day without the knowledge of what obstacles lay ahead, though of course this is one of the attractions of an unclimbed peak.

It started snowing again after setting up camp and thoughts that it may turn out to be another Dharamsura episode must have been on everybody's mind. We needn't have worried, as the snow and clouds passed away after about an hour and by mid afternoon the camp had turned into a furnace. During tea time, the team was rewarded with a magnificent sunset. After hearing out expedition weather report on All India Radio which informed us that it would remain cloudy with the chance of light snow falls higher up, we all retired to our tents for a good night's sleep. After a restless night (on my behalf), it was up at three a.m. in a rather mild minus eight degrees Celsius, looking skyward I was pleased to see stars, maybe this was going to be our day.

There were two teams. Peter would lead the first consisting of Kevin. Andrew and myself. Terry would be with Nick and Sue. The latter two were having trouble with the altitude and were unsure if they'd be able to move quickly enough. Terry was there to help carry the extra load. .

After a final adjustment of packs and gear, we set off at around four a.m. After crossing over and up a bergschrund to the foot of the first ice-gully, we had a great view of the rising sun over the mountains. It was not long afterwards that the decision to climb without the ropes was made. It was just too time-consuming to continue roped. The climb up the gully was fairly straight forward, just the occasional group of stones rolling down to keep us awake. Reaching the top of this section, it was up and over a steeper icy section between some large boulders which took us onto an exposed ridge with a steep drop of several hundred feet on one side. Travelling up the ridge we came to the first rock bands (there being two) skirting below this till we found what we thought to be the easiest way up. It seemed like the weakest place in the wall but it still looked half an hour's keen climbing on Peter's behalf to break through. It was at this point that the other group were forced to turn back. Terry led up and over the rock band in good time but Sue and Nick were feeling the effects of altitude and wasted, a lot of their energy getting over this section. Hence Terry needed to turn back as well.

At the top of the rock band those of us remaining were greeted with another ice-gully of around fifty degree ice. Here it was my turn to lead up. The snow from the day before made the going heavy in places but I was keen to stay in front, as just minutes before Kevin had dislodged a rock which hit me square in the back, now it was my turn. By now it was clouding in and it crossed my mind that we might miss out on the summit today. Then within minutes it cleared again and the sun turned the mountain into a sauna. At the top of the gully we had a well earned lunch of chocolate and cheese, while looking down at our old base camp and the Tos glacier curving away down the valley we'd come up over three weeks earlier. The heat was so intense that we all covered our burning faces with scarves to protect them. We moved up over icy and rocky ground to the foot of the second rock band, which led to the summit (or so we thought). This section was some what off-putting as there were a lot of loose rocks and any slip here would not be good for one's health. Again the clouds moved in adding to the atmosphere.

Taking off our crampons for this pitch, Peter led up, though not without dislodging some rocks onto us, to the ridge and dropped the rope down to us.

I asked Peter if he could see the summit. The reply was 'Yes, though it maybe a little more difficult than we thought!' We had thought it would be a simple snow-plod to the summit once we got to the snow-dome. When we joined Peter at the top of the ridge, we could see that the summit was some way off along a steep, rocky corniced ridge with a thousands of meter drop down to the chota Shigri glacier on one side. It was here that we had thoughts of calling this the summit as no one liked the idea of moving along the steep ridge. But after a rest and some food, we"decided that we'd gone.this far and may as well go on. The only problem was finding someone willing to lead across the ridge, Kevin nominated himself, without any arguments from the rest of us I might add. He tied himself in and we watched as he slowly moved across and up the ridge and back down to solid rock and easier ground. A final short rock climb led to the snow-dome summit.

Walking up the snow-dome there was great excitement, and on the summit there was the usual shaking of hands and endless photos. Then it was off to the near by rock summit, maybe a few feet higher, reaching here the clouds completely disappeared and we were greeted with a magnificent three hundred and sixty degree view. From the summit we could see the barren mountains of Ladakh and turning one hundred and eighty degrees could see the lush landscape of the Kullu valley. The summit was reached on the fourteenth of September, 1990 at one thirty p.m. One was very reluctant to leave such a sight but as it was by now two p.m. we couldn't afford to wait around for too long if we were to get back to camp before night fall. So off we went after a 'big' feed on a 'Five Star' bar and a few biscuits (a 'Five Star' bar doesn't go far between four).

On the way down we abseiled down the more difficult rock faces thus saving time. By now the clouds had come in again and it was snowing lightly.

We climbed down a crack in the top rock wall and into the ice-gully again. When we reached the lower ice-gully, we were disturbed to see that it had been an avalanche chute during the day. We reached the bergschund at nightfall. Peter and I yelled in the direction of the camp 'We did it'. A muffled That's great! I'll put the tea on.' Came back through the mist from Terry.

During the final short walk back to the camp (more like a stagger actually) I could not help but see the grin on Andrew's face, even though it was near dark. That night we drank endless cups of tea as we talked about the day. We had been on the go for fourteen hours but the high we were on made us forget how tired we were, that would have to wait until the next day!

While we were stuck in our tents on Dharamsura, our plans changed almost hourly, from 'we'll do this...no, the weather is worse we'll have to do that..." We started with plan 'A' right through to plan 'Y'! Peak 5595 m was plan 'Y', so we thought that if we climbed it, we would call the mountain 'Y' Parbat'.

After returning to Manali and talking to some local people, it was decided to turn 'Y Parbat' in to KEEZEEBEH PARBAT.

Summiters: Peter Brown, Kevin Epps, Andrew McNiell, Darren Miller.

Summary: An ascent of Peak 5595 m above Tos glacier on 14 September 1990 by an Australian team. Dharamsura (6446 m) was attempted.



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OUR JOINT ANGLO-POLISH expedition to Nanga Parbat flew to Gilgit on 24 November, 1990. The team included 7 Poles and 4 British. We planned to make the first winter ascent of the mountain by the Rupal Face direct route. This was first climbed in 1970 by the Messner brothers, Felix Kuen and Peter Scholz and despite several attempts, it still has not had a second ascent.

We arrived at the 'Polish base camp' on 29 November in the Rupal valley. With fine weather and experience from the Polish 1988/89 winter attempt, we made good progress. On 1 December we established Cl at 4700 m, below the Weiland Rocks and proceeded to fix rope to (he site of C1.5 a temporary intermediate camp at 5400 m. This camp w.is established on 5 December. Soon after the weather broke and progress lo C2 above the Wieland icefield was slow. The climbing conditions were generally good with hard ice between 5500 m and 6100 m.

On 19 December base camp was struck by a pressure wave from an avalanche high on the Rupal Wall. This completely flattened the camp. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Progress to C2 was further hindered by bad weather, but on 22 December the camp was established at 6100 m. This was the site of the 1970 expeditions C3 was in a sheltered ice-cave. Throughout the Christmas/New Year period the weather was very unsettled. Several feet of snow fell confining all members to base camp until 3 January 1991.

With New Year we renewed our efforts to push the route out to the site of C3 at 6800 m, below the Merkl icefield. Repeated pairs extended the way up the Welzenbach Spur, struggling in the increasingly high winds and deteriorating weather. By 13 January we ground to a halt at 6600 m, making a general retreat from the mountain. With 14 days left from our planned 60 days at base camp, Maceij Berbeka suggested a radical change of plan. On 17 January we switched to the Schell route on the left side of the Rupal flank, planning to climb in alpine style up to 7000 m for acclimatization before making a summit bid. The Berbekas, Osika and Tinker climbed up to 6600 m leaving 200 m of fixed rope on the crux rock buttress, before descending in high winds. A summit attempt was not possible in the continuous bad weather and so base camp was quit on 27 January. The journey back to Gilgit took six days, as roads were blocked by rock avalanches. Whilst in Gilgit we experienced a Richter scale 6 earthquake which killed several hundred people in the northern area of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Summary: A winter attempt on Nanga Parbat (8125 m) Rupal Face in December 1990 — January 1991.

Members: Maceij Berbeka (leader), Jacek Berbeka, Andrzej Osika, Andrez Samolewicz, Voytek Szczerba, Zabignian Terlikowskl, Dr. K. Witkowski (Poles) and 4 British: Sean Smith, John Tinker, Simon Yates and Nikola Kekus.



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WE REPORT THE FIRST ASCENT OF Bularung Sar, a 7200 m peak in the Karakoram, by a Swiss expedition. Three members of the team reached this peak, until then unclimbed peak, on 25 July, 1990. The other six members took advantage of the same period of clear weather and reached the peak three days later respectively. The success of this first ascent is thus completed by the full success of the expedition which could bring all its present members on the summit.

The expedition was organised by the Neuchutel Section of the Swiss Alpine Club and was supported by the Louis and Marcel Kurz Foundation. The ten expedition members were Alain Vaucher, Heinz Hugli, Lothar Matter Carole Milz, Thierry Bionda, Christian Meillard, Vincent von Kaenel, Jean-Jacques Sauvain and Jacques Aymon.

Bularung Sar is located in Pakistan's northern areas, in the Nagar district. It belongs to the Karakoram range called Hispar Mustagh, and is located between two other important peaks, Disteghil Sar (7885 m) and Trivor (7650 m). Although these summits were both climbed for the first time in 1960 and their ascents several times repeated since then, the first ascent of the impressive summit rising between them had to wait till today.

Although very interesting, the Bularung area is not visited very often. Still its access is not too long. Starting from Gilgit, capital of the northern areas of Pakistan, the Karakoram Highway first leads to Hunza and then, a jeep road to Huru, a small meadow in the Hispar valley where the road ends. From there, one reaches the foot of Bularung Sar in a four or five-day walk. The trek goes through Hispar and leads to the base camp via the Hispar and Kunyang glaciers.

On the trek to base camp, Bularung is already visible from the Hispar glacier. Its faces hold impressive glaciers regularly swept down by giant avalanches. An important ridge which leaves the summit toward the south represents the line of ascent. With few exceptions, the climbing route follows this line, avoiding the dangerous faces and taking advantage of the ridge's protection.

This ascent has a difference in altitude of nearly 3000 m and steep slopes on most of its height confirm its technical character. The lower part of the mountain is partly ice and partly rock. It comprises difficult rock climbing, especially a 200 m high towef of nice and compact granite. The upper part of the mountain is mostly ice-climbing on steep ridges and faces. The crux of the overall ascent is a hanging glacier which is located right on the ridge. It was passed in a direct line of ascent, by difficult and vertical ice-climbing. Finally the route leads to the summit by the top ridge which is heavily corniced in the first part and broad and easy at the end.

The expedition members reached the base camp on 18 June and started to explore the different approaches to the mountain. The proper ascent of the mountain started on 24 June and lasted for one month. The members formed three groups of three members each for most of the climbing. The first group reached the summit on 25 July after spending 17 days at high altitude. The two other groups reached the top two and three days later respectively.

The first group was composed of three guides, namely Thierry Bionda, Christian Meillard and Gerard Vouga. Jacques Aymon, Vincent von Kaenel and the physician Lothar Matter formed the second group. Members of the group were Heinz Hugh, Carole Milz and Jean-Jacques Sauvain. Carole Milz is the only woman of the expedition. She realizes, therefore, the first feminine ascent of Bularung. Note that the expedition leader Alain Vaucher had to leave the expedition earlier and that he was replaced by Heinz Hugli.

Base camp was at an altitude of 4300 m. There were 4 high altitude camps located at 5000 m, 5700 m, 6100 m and 6600 m. Camps 1 to 3 were equipped with tents but C4 was a simple ice-hole. The expedition used fixed ropes between Cl and C4, the rest was climbed in alpine-style.

Three expedition members performed flights by paraglider. Starting from C2 at 5700 m, they could fly upto base camp at 4300 m. One of the flights lasted for one hour and a half and the pilot could reach an altitude of more than 6000 m during the flight. The Swiss expedition which made the first ascent of Bularung Sar, a 7200 m peak of Karakoram, discovered a nice and safe climbing route, which is certainly worth a future visit.

Summary: The first ascent of Bularung Sar (7200 m) in Karakoram. The Swiss team reached the summit on 25, 27 and 28 July 1991.



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'WHAT ARE DUTCH PEOPLE looking for when they leave their flat country to climb in the Himalaya ?', a question which I try to answer every time I travel to the remote mountain areas of our earth.

I could easily avoid the complete answer to my own question because my expeditions were successful and I didn't feel any need to keep myself busy with such difficult matters. The overwhelming effect which resulted from the success seemed to repress the importance of answering the crucial question. Till 1990.

Together with Roland Bekendam, I organised the Dutch Ogre Expedition 1990. Our target: the extremely difficult south pillar of the 7285 m high Ogre (Baintha Brakk is the local name), a mountain which is situated in the Biafo glacier region (Karakoram, Pakistan). Its neighbour is the well-known Latok (7145 m) which may enjoy the attention of many climbers who tried to scale its notorious north pillar. Although higher than Latok, the Ogre lives a lonely life.

This mountain was first climbed, by the west face, in 1977 by Chris Bonnington and Doug Scott. Their descent from the top is a famous story in mountaineering history: Doug Scott broke both his legs and besides they were surprised by a fierce storm. Together with the help of their friends, who bivouacked near the summit, they had to make a horrible retreat which lasted nearly one week.

However, our expedition only consisted of two climbers and we chose to have a go at the much more difficult south pillar, a route which already was tried by several parties before. Fn 1983 a French expedition climbed the 800 m high pillar but had to retreat on the upper icefield of the mountain.

After we completed our team with Joos Philippens and Gaby Jobses who supported us at base camp, we left for the Karakoram on 19 June. We set up BC on 26 June at 4700 m on the lateral moraine of the Uzun Brakk glacier. From 27 June to 6 July we carried loads and placed Cl at 5350 m and C2 at 5900 m, at the base of the pillar. We fixed 300 m of rope in the 40 to 50 degree couloir leading to C2. The weather was fine and 7 and 8 July saw us proceeding up the first 300 m of the pillar. This first part also contained a 100 m high overhanging wall of A2/A3 and 6a difficulty (French grading), probably the most time-consuming and difficult part of the route. After this reconnaissance, everything seemed to be ready for an alpine-style push from the base of the pillar towards the summit. Apart from some minor snowfalls the weather had been good, but during our resting period at base camp it snowed and rained almost continuously. On 15 July we went up under a blue sky for the summit attempt. Unfortunately the weather broke again the next day and we had to sit out snowfalls and very strong winds in C2 for four days. We were only allowed to pick up some extra food from Cl, which we found 300 m further down from its original place. It had been carried down by the air-wave resulting from a huge serac avalanche from the snowband situated to the upper left of the pillar. 20 July the wind subsided and we climbed to a very poor bivouac ledge at 6250 m. Next day the weather deteriorated again. Incredible! We concluded that our chances to reach the summit were over. We left our gas cartridges and food (12 kgs) under some rocks at the bivouac ledge and descended to C2. A metre of fresh snow covered our tent at C2 the following night. 22 July we arrived at BC.

Once again we got no rest because in the meantime big Himalayan bears had traced our camp and tried to attack our food supplies. We had to defend ourselves by screaming, throwing stones and fire signal flares at the hungry animals. After two days they left.

Nevertheless, on 24 July we decided to have one more try at our mountain. Not for the summit, but only for the impressive rock pillar itself. We planned to climb fast and light and to use our gas and food supplies which we had left at the bivouac ledge at 6250 m. 27 July in the afternoon we reached this previous high point. Once again we met with bad luck. We were very disappointed to find all our supplies to be finished and damaged by huge ravens. Now we had to retreat again while the weather was fine. During our descent of the couloir, Roland's shoulder was injured by a rockfall. Luckily he was able to climb down by himself. When we arrived at BC, it turned out to be evacuated by Gaby to the BC of an American expedition on the Biafo glacier. The Himalayan bears had struck again and this time they ruined all our tents and remaining food. We were not the only expedition this season troubled by bears. Future parties to this area have to watch for this 'bestial' problems. Take care if you want to go there and remember: this piece of nature is their residence and not ours!

Anyhow, it looked like the Ogre didn't want to be climbed in 1990. Bad weather and many 'animal-problems' hampered a summit attempt. Luckily we enjoyed our adventure and there were no serious accidents.

Not reaching 'the summit of your dreams' leaves a strange feeling. A feeling which strongly responds to my original question: 'what the hell are we, bloody Dutch, looking for when we leave our country to climb in the Himalaya?' A question still without an answer, but motivating enough to continue with a magnificent sport.

Summary: A Dutch attempt on Baintha Brakk I (7285 m) by the south pillar in July 1990.



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THE DESTINATION OF THE SMALL private expedition was the second ascent of Saraghrar North and Main (7349 m) by the route of the first ascent (Maraini, 1959) via the northeast ridge of the North peak.

Northeast ridge of peak 6763 m, new route Saraghar massif.

Northeast ridge of peak 6763 m, new route Saraghar massif. (A. Fendt)

Sorlawi Zom (c. 5800 m), route of ascent.

Sorlawi Zom (c. 5800 m), route of ascent. (A. Fendt)

The members of the expedition were the Alfred Fendt (leader), Anita Burkhardt-Fendt, Klaus Cramer, Adolf Rottach, Ametsbichler Tobias and Dr. Ulrich Schmidt-Riese. The team reached Islamabad on 29 July and left the capital after clearing the formalities on 1 August via Dir, Lowari pass to Chitrat. On 3 August the travel was continued by jeep to Washich/Zanglasht (2400 m) in the Turikho valley. The four-day-approach march to the upper Niroghi glacier follqwed with 24 porters via. Ziwar Gol, Ziwar Utz, Gramshal, Hushko glacier to the base camp (4270 m).

Istor Ghuni East (5610 m), route of ascent.

Istor Ghuni East (5610 m), route of ascent. (A. Fendt)

After setting up the base camp (7 August) Adolf Rottach and Ulrich Schmidt-Riese climbed with one camp on the Aurumghoni glacier (4700 m) the top of Istor Ghuni Central (5610 m) via the 600 m north face (ice-climbing, 40°, 8-9, August).

For climbing Saraghrar, Cl was set up at the beginning of the Roma glacier (5220 m, 11 August). From there the team found a new direct route up the northeast face of north peak to C2 (6140 m, ice-climbing, 600 m, 40-55°, 15 August). Using the route of the first ascent, the ascent was continued by crossing a dangerous serac-icefall to C3 (6690 m, ice-climbing, short climbs upto 60°, 100 m ice wall 50°, 18 August).

Alfred Fendt, Adolf Rottach, Tobias Ametsbichler and Klaus Cramer reached the top of Saraghrar North (7040 m) on 20 August and Alfred Fendt and Tobias Ametsbichler could climb Saraghrar Main (7349 m) on the same day. Both the summit were second ascents. On 22 August they were back at base camp again.

After using one camp (5000 m) Adolf Rottach and Tobias Ametsbichler made the first ascent of the north ridge and north wall of Sucai Zom North (5963 m, 1000 m, 40-55, short ice-steps till 90, 25-26 August).

With one camp on the Soriawi glacier (5000 m) Klaus Cramer, Anita Burkhardt-Fendt and Alfred Fendt ascended an unnamed peak in the northeast range of the Saraghrar massif (about 5800 m). It was named 'Sorlawi Zom IF (25-26 August).

All the members returned with 15 porters in three days to Washich/Zanglasht using the same route, and reached Chitral on 31 August and arrived in Islamabad on 2 September.

The climb was encouraged by the safe high pressure weather with cold nights and dry air humidity during the whole of August.

Summary: Ascents in the Saraghrar group, Hindu Kush, Pakistan, by a German expedition in August 1990. Following peaks were climbed:

Saraghrar North (7040 m) second ascent Saraghrar Main (7349 m) second ascent Istor Ghuni Central (5610 m) first ascent Sucai Zom North (5963 m) first ascent Soriawi Zom II (5800 m) first ascent.


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