ARUBAL RANG EXPEDITION, 1991
RUBAL KANG IS SITUATED north of Parbati valley in the Kullu Himalaya. It stands southwest of Kulu-Makalu, on the divide of Kullu and Spiti valleys. Practically Dibibokri west glacier starts from the foot of these two peaks.
We started along the traditional trail on the right bank of the Parbati river. We reached Raskat within an* hour. We passed Ghatighat and Tauk, and reached village Barsheni (2100 m) at 3 p.m. The environment of the village looked unhygienic. Our only shelter was the school building. The view of village Pulgaon on the opposite bank of Parbati was very nice.
On 1 September, we proceeded east along the trail, gradually downward upto the confluence of Tos nala and the Parbati river. Crossing the nala, the trail goes up through the terraced fields. We reached Rudranag at 11 a.m. and had lunch from the langar of the temple of lord Shiva. The view of the roaring Parbati passing through the gorge was enchanting. Crossing the river we faced a steep climb through a forest of typical Himalayan trees, till we reached the grassy fields of Khirganga (2950 m). From here, there are two trails towards Tundabhuj. The lower one is generally used by the cattle owners. The upper one, which we chose, passed over a rock slope to traverse diagonally. We crossed Tundabhuj nala and established our transit camp (3300 m) beside the boulders at west of the grassy field. On 3 September, we started for Thakur Kua. At about 1 p.m. we reached the rope bridge to across Parbati river. The trail towards Mantali and Pin Parbati pass goes along the left bank of Parbati river. We crossed Parbati along the single steel rope bridge with a basket hanging from a rusted pulley and set up a camp on the right bank of Parbati. The confluence of Parbati river and Dibibokri nala was at a distance of about 200 m from our camp. On 4 September, we packed up and started, initially on the trail towards northeast, steep up along the grassy slope and loose boulders. We passed through gradual grassy slope along the right of Dibibokri nala. At about 2 p.m. we all reached the base camp (4060 m) area just before the confluence of Ratiruni nala and Dibibokri nala.
The trail towards Cl was along the boulders up to the confluence of Dibibokri and Ratiruni nalas. Then it turned a little to the left towards the north and over huge boulders. At 4500 m, we found the camping spot and dumped all the loads in a tent.
On 7 September, 5 members and 3 HAPs who had stayed at Cl, moved north along the stream upto the high point of loose rock barrier, on the other side of which the stream, wide enough, from the snout of west glacier, looked like a glacial lake. Little before the west glacier, they crossed another stream coming from the first tributary glacier from peak 'West Horns'. Then they moved over the right lateral moraine of west glacier. Site of C2 (5060 m) was chosen at the foot of third tributary glacier on the right of West glacier. C2 was established on right lateral moraine on West glacier bed. Chaman Singh identified the rock peak to NNE as Rubal Kang. And this peak is being climbed since 1986, Chaman added. Kulu Makalu was out of sight as it was obstructed by the west ridge of the peak. We studied our sketch map carefully and felt doubtful about identification <af the peak 'Rubal Kang'. On 9 September, initially we proceeded along the right lateral moraine and then crossed the West glacier diagonally. After one and half hours of trekking, we saw Kulu Makalu, the chief peak of the basin, as if it dominates the entire area of West glacier. On its SW was a snow peak with a rocky top. The west ridge of the peak ends at a col and again continues to SW, upto the rocky peak. We again discussed the identification but Chaman Singh declared the rocky peak as 'Rubal Kang'.
We proceeded towards the rocky peak. At 2 p.m. we reached C3 (5240 m) at the foot of this rocky peak. After sun-set, monsoon clouds appeared in the gap between Kulu Makalu and its subsidiary peak. We came to a conclusion that this subsidiary peak is the real Ruba! Kang (6115 m).i
But Chaman kept firm in his opinion. He is a famous guide of this region. We wanted to attempt the real Rubal Kang. But Chaman did not agree to accompany us for want of climbing shoes.
On 10 September, we decided to climb the 'false' Rubal Kang. First five members namely Gautam Baxi, Amitav Ghosh, Pulin Dey, Prasun Pan and Krishnamoy Nayak along with Chaman Singh and three HAPs left C3 at 6.30 a.m. They covered the slope full of boulders. After two hours of climbing they reached the middle of the V-shaped top of the peak. Traversing left they reached the highest point on the rocky top (5700 m). Photographs of the surroundings were taken. The West glacier and Tichu glacier in the west looked beautiful. Photographs of Kulu Makalu and the real Rubal Kang were taken to establish the correct position of the peak 'Rubal Kang', which was visible clearly from here.
In the meantime, on the same day Samar Barua, Gautam Banik and myself packed up and left C3 at 8.30 a.m., and marched towards the real Rubal Kang. We planned to establish a summit camp on the fourth hump of the ice-plateau below the centre of the west ridge of Ruba! Kang. We turned right towards the east, passed over the first two humps. A large number of crevasses were faced beyond the second slope. The only possible route to be followed was to our left, below the hanging ice-wall on the rock band. We had alreadyobserved 4-5 avalanches on this within an hour. We proceeded further upto the end of the rock-wall below the ice-mass. But we could not find any possible way to, proceed further. At about 2 p.m., as we decided to give up our attempt at 5660 m the weather deteriorated rapidly. We returned to C3 at 5.30 p.m.
1. See the article 'A Dawdle in the Dlbi' by Aloke Surin in the present issue also. - Ed.
On 11 September, we three attempted the rocky peak (false 'Rubal Kang') that our members had already climbed. We succeeded and returned on to C3 at 10.30 a.m. On 12 September we all gathered at base camp.
The position of the real Rubal Kang is very close to Kulu Makalu in SW. But at first sight, Kulu Makalu and Rubal Kang seemed to be the same peak. For this reason the rocky peak with twin tops (5700 m) is being climbed as 'Rubal Kang'. Chaman Singh knows this fact, and he has been misguiding teams about Rubal Kang. We tried out best to attempt the real peak (6115 m) but failed.
Summary: A climb of a rocky peak 5700 m and an attempt on Rubal Kang (6115 m) in Kullu area in September 1991 by an Indian team from West Bengal.