EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
1 Three Men in a Tent.
Rev. Roy Greenwood
While descending from a successful summit climb The setting sun set on fire surrounding snow peaks and as suddenly
withdrew the flame leaving
A purple ash on the peaks, a silence and a great cold.
Far below the pristine whiteness of snow was beginning to fade as evening shadows closed in.
Two tiny dark marks were just visible.
As we further descended these took the welcome shape of our tents at Camp 2, 19,500'.
Celebrations! Hoarded chunks of dried yak meat (with a few hairs) stored in Dawa Thondup's anorak pocket for just this occasion were put in the cooking pot.
The primus stove was pumped hard, warming a stew.
After one brief look at the exceeding brightness of stars and calmness of the night;
Gyalgen Myckje and Dewa Thondup closed every chink
in the tent that might allow cold air to intrude
Snug, fully dressed, with our boots within our sleeping bags we three stretched out as sardines in a tin.
After what had been an exciting day we were restless, finding it hard to settle;
When one turned, we all turned.
As I dozed, I heard the sound of what seemed like approaching thunder. This seemed strange because the night had seemed so calm.
Becoming fully awake I became aware that my Sherpa companions were celebrating our climb with high altitude stomach fireworks as they burped and broke wind.
We finally fell asleep with summit snow still dribbling from our boots.
2 Active Fault Crossing Over Great Himalayan Range
Quaternary geological survey along the upper Karnali river in Humla district, far western Nepal
Outline of fieldwork
It is widely known that the Himalaya has been uplifting due to ongoing collision between Eurasian and Indian plates. Such recent crustal movement is well supported by a distribution of the active faults on the earth surface. Kumahara (2000) identified new active fault, Yari fault, crossing over the great Himalaya obliquely in far northwestern Nepal. This implies that the Himalaya has not only been uplifting, but also detaching itself laterally along a chain of strike - slip faults. In this paper we present tectonic landform data on the Yari fault collected in September 2005, along the upper Karnali river in Humla district, far western Nepal.
Interpretation of the aerial photo taken by the Survey Department of Nepalese government revealed that an active Yari fault in northwestern Nepal is very close to the border with China and fault-related tectonic landforms such as offset-stream and small fault scarp on river terraces were observed. The Yari fault is about 50 km long and is located between the Karakoram fault in Tibet and active fault system along Main Central Thrust (MCT), an old geological intracrustal thrust fault in western Nepal (Nakata, 1990). If its existence is true, there should be one strike-slip fault system for over 1000 km from Tibet to the Himalayan front crossing the Himalayan range. The Yari fault, therefore, is practically a last piece of the jigsaw in this hypothesis. Considering these all, in this fieldwork we aim (1) to show the geological evidence of active faulting along the Yari fault, and (2) to measure vertical and horizontal slip along the fault plane.
We could not carry heavy mountaineering equipment because northern segment of surface trace of the Yari fault follows the trekking route from Simikot to Hilsa. We surveyed a route along the main stream of the Humla Karnali river for five days, along the left bank of the Yari river for six days, and finally met the main stream at Hilsa after crossing over the Nara la (pass). On the way, many trekkers who passed us could not imagine that the route is along the active fault. Because of its location we were fortunate to survey fault traces making observations on an excellent outcrops in the road section. After fieldwork in Nepal we crossed the border at Hilsa to go to west behind the Himalaya, and finally re-entered to Nepal at Kodari and headed for Kathmandu.
Our group consisted of four Japanese academic scientists, (three of them are geomorphologists or Quaternary geologists and one,a dating geophysicist), and nine Nepali assistants for logistic support.
Tectonic landforms along the Yari fault
Identification of tectonic landform is important in order to find offsets of the landform which was initially linear or plane and to clarify that the origin of the offset is due to faulting rather than other processes such as river-cutting or mass movement. In this regard we surveyed tectonic landforms in different locations as shown in Continuity of north- facing scarp with NW-SE striking against south-sloping fan surfaces on the left bank of the Yari river from Tumkot to Nara la is one of the prominent geomorphologic evidences for active faulting. Similarly, a N-S profile of an active fan surface at Patihalna shows 4.3 m vertical north side down displacement of the Yari fault, which suggests total vertical displacement after forming of the fan surface. Walking along the fault trace, we could observe not only vertical displacement but also horizontal displacement at several places. East of the Yari village, three gullies on a fan surface offsets 25 to 30 m right-laterally, which is shuttered by ridges just on the fault trace. And at the Yari village, the amount right-lateral displacement is 4.8 m and that of vertical is less than 1 m based on observation of a small gully on the same trace as east of Yari village. Those observations suggest that the active faulting has occurred repeatedly on the same fault trace, and ratio of horizontal displacement is much larger to that of vertical displacement.
Geological evidence of active faults
An excellent, about 3 m high, outcrop of fault plane is exposed below the fault scarp along the newly constructed road at Pani Palban. The main fault plane strikes N48°W and dips 73° to 78° towards north and is bounded between lake sediment in the south and fan deposit in the north.
Along the Karnali river and its tributary, we could observe lake sediment and successive flat terraces on the both banks at several places. This was derived from paleo-lake formed by damming up of the stream due to landslide or collapse of high relief mountain slope. On the other hand, boulder and gravels on the fault plane are imbricate and their major axis are parallel to the fault plane and also gravel layer in fan deposit goes up toward the fault plane. The key layer in lake sediment, which is initially horizontal at the bottom of paleo - lake, was displaced 50 cm vertically, and has been up-warped between the main and secondary faults. Although no dating information of lake sediments or fan deposit is available at present, it is permissible to say that those sediments had deposited during late Pleistocene because there are unconcreted and unweathered sediments even close to the surface, suggesting that the Yari fault is an active fault.
On the basis of field observation on tectonic landform associated with the fault plane we conclude that the Yari fault is an active fault right-lateral strike slip fault. Because of the similar trend and sense of movement, Yari Fault can be considered as a bridging fault between the Karakoram fault in the northwest and the MCT active fault system of the Himalaya in the southeast. Now we can say with confidence that the Himalaya has not only been uplifting, but also detaching itself laterally along a chain of strike-slip faults.
Acknowledgements : We are very grateful to Dr. B. N. Upreti for his enormous help for our fieldwork, to Deepak Chamlagain for commenting on earlier draft of the manuscript and to Oonishi for encouraging us to write our report in this volume. This work was partly supported by Fukutake Science and Culture Foundation grant.
References: Kumahara, Y. (2000): Recognition of the Yari fault and its significance for active tectonics of the Himalaya. Proc. Hokudan International Symposium and School on Active Faulting, 187-190.
Nakata, T., K. Otsuki and S. H. Khan (1990): Active faults, stress field, and plate motion along the Indo-Eurasian plate Boundary. Tectonophysics, 181, 83-95.
Note : 1) An active fault, a prominent indicator of present-day crustal movement on the earth surface, is generally defined as a fault that has repeatedly moved within Late Quaternary, and can reactivate in future accompanied by a great earthquake like the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
Members: Kumahara Yasuhiro, Maemoku Hideaki (Hiroshima University), Yagi Hiroshi (Yamagata University) And Nagatomo Tsuneto (Nara University Of Education)
A study of 'Yari Fault' in the Himalaya.
3 Roundtrip Baruntse - Off The Beaten Track
The monsoon refused to surrender and in a veil of fog and rain we headed off on our trip.
Starting from Luckla in the Khumbu-valley we planned to walk to Mera peak (6476 m), climb it and walk further on to the base camp of Baruntse (7168 m). After climbing it we would pass Ampu Lapsa (5780 m) and walk back into the touristy Khumbu - valley. We decided to bring porters up to the base camp of Baruntse. From there on the porters would return. We considered Ampu Lapsa, too dangerous to cross with the porters and one Sirdar, keeping the cruel history of this pass and our little two-man team in mind.
It was raining. Immediately after Luckla, the path started to wind steeply to our first stop at a little tea house just an hour from the first col Chhatera Teng la (4600 m). The path ascended relentlessly through a slippery rhododendron forest. We pass Chhatanga, a little village. Instead of proper houses like those we had seen only a few hours ago in Luckla, there were only huts here. The last tourist tracks were seen in little window shops where you could buy Pringles and Coke. This was to stay the same until we returned to the Khumbu - valley four weeks later.
Over the Zatrwala (4580 m), we slid down a mud - slide into Hinku valley and walked through the Hinku valley until we reach Khare. Occasionally the clouds would dissolve leaving a view of the mountains and especially the Mera peak rising up in front of us.
In Khare (5000 m), we took a rest day to acclimatise. We were lucky the weather changed for the better and the next day we walked in the sun to advanced base camp to climb Mera peak.
Three porters were already waiting for us on the pass. They always left at 6.00 in the morning and we would break up camp and follow their trail an hour later. We left them on the pass and continued to climb until we pitched our tent at 5400 m. The mountain was deserted and we were in an unreal silence after stopping, breathing heavily from the strenuous workout at this altitude.
The view of world's highest peaks kept us out of the tent despite the cold and fatigue. The Baruntse and the route was clearly visible. There didn't seem to be a lot of snow on the lower parts of the route. The crest looks nice, sharp and steep from this point. That night we left at 3 a.m. Head torches on, we walked for hours in silence. At 5.00 we seemed to have made little progress. The sun rose rapidly from behind the Makalu and other giants.
The mountain turned from a light pink, to a salmon, and then to an orange. Renewed, inspired by the warmth, the enchanting views and the mesmerising colours of the mountain, we continued. The initial satisfaction that the warmth had given us quickly faded. The heat became unbearable and forced us at 6000 m to get off as much clothing as possible. We climbed at a slower and slower pace to the top, trying to summit before the rapidly rising clouds would spoil our views.
At 9. 00 a.m. we finally reached the summit of Mera peak. We 'won' over the clouds and had a perfect, clear view. It was awesome... we had a
360° view of the Himalaya. Everest and Baruntse brotherly, next to each other, Makalu appeared small in the distance.
We descended quickly and decided to stay in the base camp and get down to the other camp the next day. We were totally exhausted from the long climb, the altitude and the weather and it gave us an opportunity to enjoy an extra night at a high altitude. It turned out to be a very long deep sleep. The next day we found the rest of our team waiting for us just below the glacier already well into Hinku valley. From that point it was another two-day walk to the base camp of Baruntse.
In the Hinku valley there are no villages and we noticed a kind of tension among the porters. They didn't feel at home here. Chandra, our Sirdar and cook, told us a few stories about the hostility in this valley. The weather can change within seconds and more than one expedition has had to wait for days for better circumstances before they were able to return, through inches of snow. But the weather was perfect and we walked through fields of flowers following streams and passing emerald lakes. We were in the real Nepali wilderness now, no one to see, Baruntse was coming closer every hour, and our spirits were rising mountain high!
In base camp (5400 m) the weather changed again. It was clear in the early morning but usually became unpredictable after 9 a.m. We had a few rest days and then carried food and hardware up to 5750 m just below the glacier. The first 120 m couloir up to west col showed a lot of bare rock. We were very skeptical about climbing it. We had anticipated snow in this section, but the new circumstances demanded rock climbing. There were also a lot of signs of rock fall and avalanches as well. We didn't have the gear for this and since the weather remained instable we wanted to be able to descend quickly when necessary. Just 60 m of rope and the two of us didn't make an alpine style attempt possible.
The next day we crossed the crevassed glacier up to the couloir. The weather was changing from sunny to zero visibility and back to the sun again every half an hour. We checked the couloir and decided after a brief discussion that it would be too dangerous to continue. We descended back to base camp and prepared to leave the next day for Ampu Lapsa.
The next morning, the porters packed their baskets and we said goodbye as they would return the same way back to Luckla. We planned to go over Amphu Lapsa into the Khumbu valley. As soon as we were on
our way the disappointment of missing Baruntse began to fade. The climb up to Amphu Lapsa is magnificent. And the feeling that we were all alone again in made us sing with joy. We passed a few lakes and camped just below the final ascent to the pass in an inch of fresh powder snow. The route was a bit of a gamble. All the route descriptions in the guidebooks and the accounts of the locals seemed to differ a little. In the morning the little layer of snow disappeared in half an hour of sunlight and we started to ascend which turned out to be the highlight of our tour. We found some sort of trail sometimes accompanied with a cairn winding up until we were just below the glacier. The shape was very strange layers, like pancakes, decorated with dozens of icicles. We had a gorgeous climb up. Difficult to secure, but a challenge in route finding and the axes were biting beautifully. Half way up it started to snow out of a smoky gray sky.
We hurried our way up. When we arrived at the notch of Amphu Lapsa we had no visibility at all. On the other side of the pass there was a steep wall leading to a void. There was a lot of snow and no trail visible. In the snow we slowly descended, scrambling down, sometimes abseiling. The snowing continued and we followed a trail of sacrifice baskets and
rubbish from expeditions before us. Normally enough reason to be seriously annoyed with, this littering now served as a reassurance that we were not totally lost. After 6 hours of concentrated struggling, we found the first sign of what appeared to be a track. 14 hours after we had set out that morning, we pitched our tent. In the tent we ate a little and drank our last bit of whiskey. The exhaustion, the feeling of how lucky we were to get off that mountain and the tiny bit of alcohol gave us a euphoric thrill before we fell into some sort of coma. In the morning the sky was clear again. Getting my head out of the tent I saw the mighty Lhotse on one side and the wall we had climbed down on the other side. A bit later we were outside and while drinking coffee we couldn't stop looking at the sheer wall rising up in front of us. With high and steep walls all around us, we felt we were in the centre of a giant amphitheatre. After coffee, we walked into the valley back to the main road in the Khumbu, back to civilisation. After an hour we hit the road. Processions of climbers in Goretex wearing glacier sunglasses were climbing at a snail's pace to base camp of Island peak, their backpacks carried by porters. We hurried with mixed feelings in the other direction. Mixed because we felt we were walking out of the wilderness but relieved because we knew that Chhukung would provide us with a proper meal and beer, of course a dissonance in the character of our trip but nonetheless welcomed with great intensity and pleasure.
A trek to Baruntse and crossing of Amphu Lapsa (5780 m).
4 First Ascent of Yume Muztagh
The Kunlun Mountains, China
On 1 August 2005 at 11:05, all four of our party succeeded in the first ascent of an unnamed virgin peak (6345 m) in the Kunlun mountains in China.
Even though the average age of our team was 61 years, all of us were able to ascend at the same time. We conducted every aspect of the ascent ourselves, including carrying loads and scouting and selection of routes. We did not employ any local porters, horses, donkeys or camels during our attempt. Moreover, there was no outside financial and material support for this or the reconnaissance trip conducted last year. The expedition was financed solely by us, the members. This was an expedition of a group of friends who have known each other and climbed together for decades, and who know each other's abilities and limitations well.
The Xinjang-Tibet Highway, situated along the base of the Himalaya and Karakoram mountains, extends through Yecheng, located
at the southwest corner of the Taklamakan desert, to and beyond Lhasa in Tibet. We drove southward from Yecheng along the highway for about 530 km. The virgin unnamed peak is located at N 35°41'; E79°41', about 16 km northeast as the crow flies from this point. Although it is not visible from the highway, the peak is situated at the end of a broad valley, which curves to the southeast. The peak, the highest among the mountains of about 6000 m , became visible as we advanced along the valley.
Because of the rich history and romance associated with the Silk Road, we were interested in the Kunlun mountains, rather than the more well-known Himalaya or Karakoram mountains.
During September through October of2004, Toshio Itoh, Eizo Maeda and Hiromitsu Izutani, spent about 20 days conducting a reconnaissance to select a mountain suitable for older climbers and found this mountain.
Tactics / Approach
Th age and the physical limitations of the expedition members were important factors in every aspect of planning. During the reconnaissance, we determined that instead of tents, the base camp (BC) should be one of the truck stops in Dahongliutan along the Xinjang - Tibet Highway. Although the truck stop was very basic, without toilet facilities, the shelter with a coal - burning stove provided us with spacious and luxurious living quarters (compared to tent living), hot water, and a warm environment for recovery.
Considering the age of the members, we paid particular attention to acclimatisation. We spent enough time on arrival at Dahongliutan, the base camp, to acclimatise and also set aside enough days for relaxation and recuperation. We hired drivers and rented two aging 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers, which required frequent repair stops, and drove as far as the cruisers would take us. The ground condition was excellent this year, thus we were able to drive in desert about 8 km from the highway and up to the elevation of 5440 m to establish our advance base camp (ABC). After leaving ABC, we had to cross a shallow stream, which was fed by melting snow and glaciers. Then, climbing along a spur, on a shoulder we established C1 at 5800 m.
The area above C1 was very steep snow - ice, and the transition zones consist of a mixture of rocks and snow - ice. We established C2 on
the col (elevation 6010 m) beyond a small hill (elevation 6100 m) From Camp C2 we followed a snow - covered ridge with a large cornice up to a junction with a ridge extending to the north. We climbed a very steep snow slope just below the junction. After the junction, a gentle plateau extended towards the summit. The summit consists of a broad dome.
It had long been our dream to climb a virgin unnamed mountain in the Kunlun mountains. The dream was fulfilled.
The Kashgar Mountaineering Association certified the first ascent of the mountain and gave us a certificate, as well as approving the name we gave the summit - Yume Muztagh (Yume - dreams in Japanese; Muztagh - ice/snow covered mountain in Uighur).
Members : All members are alumni of Kyoto University Alpine Club (KUAC) and members of the Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto University (AACK).
Toshio Itoh (66), leader, Eizo Maeda (61), deputy leader, Hiromitsu Izutani (61) and Toshikazu Kurimoto (56).
5 The North Face of Potala Shan
The First and Solo Ascent
Mt. Siguniang, the highest peak of Qionglai mountains, has become so famous and popular within China itself that the southern side of the mountain, access to which is very easy from Chengdu, is now congested with hundreds of tourists and trekkers, domestic and foreign. However, if you are to look north, you will note many lofty granite peaks towering the sky. These peaks, which range from 5300 to 5900 meters in height, encircle two beautiful valleys as if to form a grand coliseum. Although approaches are not very difficult and a 1:50,000 Chinese topographical map indicates the relevant position and altitude in detail, the peaks remain little-known - and in many cases, untrodden.
From 'Rock Peaks of the Siguniang Region New routes, anyone?' Tamotsu Nakamura, American Alpine Journal (AAJ) 2000.
I made a first and solo ascent of the north face of Potala, which is a very impressive big wall. I have tried this wall, towering in Qonglai massif in Sichuan of China, twice since last year. As a matter of fact, my first attempt did not go well. Even with many years of experience, I have not attempted the same mountain twice since my last winter solo attempt of Fitzroy, Patagonia, in 1990.
I was anticipating the success of this climb to be my comeback achievement, and I also wanted to prove to myself that I was not 'done- in' as a climber.
It was in the autumn of 2003 when I first saw 'Potala'. I was there trekking as part of my rehabilitation efforts, a year after my accident in Gyachungkang. Among all the big walls even those found in Yosemite, I found the Potala wall to be most attractive. In fact, I noticed many beautiful crack lines extending up to the crest.
Although the attempt was made after a careful evaluation of my physical condition and low temperature equipment, the climb was as difficult as expected.
Base camp was established on a beautiful meadow at 3700 m on 25 June, and I carried equipment and provisions up to the bottom of the wall at approximately 4500 m on the 27th
. Then, I spent a week fixing rope on the first 300 m of the route. The weather was as bad as my last attempt. I advanced with much difficulty due to continuous rain and snow. I chose a route following a large corner on the wall, which resulted in ice falling on me quite frequently.
On 13 July, I started an earnest attack on the wall in capsule style, equipped with a portaledge. The rock, especially on the lower part of the route, is solid granite. However, as I climbed, periodic appearances of expanding flakes obstructed my progress to about one pitch a day.
Coated ice on the rock surface prevented free climbing, so I couldn't help but depend on aid climbing. Shortly after the climb began, I got a slight frostbite on my hands and feet, which are my Achilles heel ever since my accident in 2002. My down jacket and sleeping bag were both soaked, so my extremities were unable to recover, and I was suffering from exhaustion as I was unable to get any sleep.
To make matters worse, the sun never shone on the north wall that I was on. In fact, the ice and snow that was on the upper part of the wall made the climb very stressful.
At last, on 19 July, the seventh day of my climb, I reached the crest at an elevation of 5350 m.
Two additional days were needed to return to the base camp by rappelling along the same route.
First ascent of Potala, North face, 850 m, 18 Pitches. 5.8 A3+
The route is named Jiayou in Chinese meaning 'Come on!' (or 'Do Your Best!').
I had lost a total of 5 fingers and all toes on my right foot as a result of bad weather during the climb on the north face of Gyachungkang in 2002.
Despite this 'slight' handicap, I made attempts on Potala North Wall over two years. I was confident that my experience and the climbing skills made a successful solo attempt on a big wall highly probable.
Climber; Yamanoi, Yasushi (40)
Supported by Taeko Yamanoi (49) as a base camp manager, 1 cook and 1 interpreter.
Note by T. Nakamura.
A brief climbing history of rock peaks surrounding Mt. Siguniang is as follows:-
1983 Celestial Peak 5413 m (Tibetan name: Punyu, Chinese name:
Mountain of Gods), first ascent, American party led by Ted Vaill.
1985 Celestial Peak, second ascent via a new route of the southeast ridge, Keith Brown (solo climb).
1994 Nameless 5383 m peak west of Celestial Peak, first ascent, Charlie Fowler (solo climb).
1994 Nameless 5484 m peak and adjacent peak ranging to the east in the north of the main summit of Siguniang, first ascent, Charlie Fowler (solo climb).
1997 Nameless 5666 m peak north of the main summit of Siguniang, first ascent, Charlie Fowler (solo climb).
1997 Rock tower southwest of Celestial Peak, first ascent, John Mesler, 10 pitches, Grade 5.9.
Niuxim Shan 4942m north of Potala Shan on the watershed of Shuangqiaoguo and Changpingguo. The southeast face 500m was first climbed by a Japanese party. (See JAN (Japanese Alpine News) Vol. 3, 2003) Nameless 5892 m peak and neighboring peaks northeast ofSiguniang were reconnoitered by a Japanese party. (See JANVol. 3, 2003)
2002 Potala Shan 5428 m, the west face was first climbed by Tanja and Andrej Gromovsek from Slovenia. They also made the first ascent of Tan Shan 4943 m south of Potala Shan in the Shuangqiaoguo valley. (See JAN Vol. 5, 2004)
2003 An American party made several ascents of the peaks surrounding Bipeng valley northeast of Siguniang. (See AAJ Vol. 47, 2005)
2004 A Swiss party led by Lukas Durr made the first ascent of the south face (about 700 m high - 21 pitches) of Eagle Rock peak in the Shuangqiaoguo valley.
2005 An American party made the first ascents of two rock peaks in Qonglai Mountains. Editor is waiting for their report.
Most likely, there are ascents other than those listed above as foreign
climbers have started attempts on the rock peaks and walls in that
Colonel M. M. Masur
Dunagiri (7066 m) lies in the outer periphery of the Nanda Devi Biosphere. There is permission to climb it only from the directions that do not pass through the biosphere. To its east lies Changabang (6864 m), to southeast lies Rishi Kot (6866 m), to south lies Hanuman (6075 m). Nanda Devi (7816 m) lies further southeast behind Rishi Kot. Dunagiri has two peaks; Dunagiri Main (7066 m) and Dunagiri East (6489 m).
Dunagiri was first attempted by an Englishman, W.W.Graham in 1883 but he was not successful. The next attempt was in the year 1933 by two Englishmen P.R. Oliver and D. Campbell who made the attempt from the west. After reaching Camp 2 on a flat ground they looked ahead to a sharp knife-edged SW ridge, a climb of about thousand metres, due to which they abandoned the climb. Eric Shipton in 1936 and Frank Smythe and P. R. Oliver in 1937 made unsuccessful attempts.
In 1939, a Swiss team led by Andre Roche made the first ascent of Dunagiri from the southwest ridge. Joe Tasker and Dick Renshaw made the second ascent, Alpine style, via the southeast face in 1975. The peak has since then been subsequently climbed by the Japanese, Australians, Poles and Spaniards. 
A team from volunteers was selected and trained at various locations, including at Gulmurg High Altitude Warfare School of the army. The team assembled in Clement Town, Dehra Dun in the month of April 2005 and underwent one month of rigorous physical training. The team started from Dehra Dun in early April and after acclimatisation moved to Suraithota, on 27 April, about 30 km ahead of Joshimath.
In the evening Captain Vimal, Captain Ashish and the leader went to Jumma about 20 km towards Malari, to have a clear view of the mountain which was not visible from the roadhead camp at Suraithota.
Recce of approach route
On 16 May a party with Captain Ashish in lead alongwith 8 climbers was tasked to trek towards Purchani to recce the route .
The route, which passed though Tolma, Hissa, Purchani Uniyal, Tadak Tolma, had been opened up to 3 km ahead of Hissa. But despite the route the track was obliterated at various places due to sliding and rock fall especially at a landslide area 1 km short of Hissa. This particular patch had loose soil and rocks that covered the track as soon as the team members walked on it and was very slippery. If one slipped the arrest was only possible after a drop of 200 m. The party attempted clearing the route up to Purchani. As the team progressed they faced a vertical rock face 1 km short of Purchani. Initially they tried to find an alternate route but could not do so due to a gorge on the right and a cliff on the left. They climbed the rock face to get to the top. The party found that load ferrying between Hissa and Purchani would be challenging. The route ahead had been in state of disuse for quite some time and the complete track was covered with thick undergrowth and bushes. The route clearing between Purchani and base camp would require serious effort.
Captain Vimal and Hav Jaylal set out to explore a new route from village Sagari but on reaching there they found out that the village was in ruins and the route no more existed. They decided to take the route from village Pangrasu-Phagti and onward to Dobala Thal. But as they proceeded towards Dobala Thal from Phagti, they found that even this route was obliterated due to disuse. En route across the Dhauli ganga they saw a group of bears moving around above Phagti Tarak. Both of them moved
further along the river and turned left to climb towards a pass between steep rocky mountains. The climb towards the pass, that was to be negotiated before reaching Dobala Thal, was not very encouraging. It was full of loose boulders and scree on a sixty-degree incline. On reaching the pass they found that the slope across was packed with a thick sheet of snow leaving no trail to move further. Having no options left, the party returned to Phagti village and met the head of the village to gather more information about the area and the route. After this they reported back to the camp. On analysis and discussion, it was decided that , this route was not recommended for the approach march.
Another party comprising Captain Alok, L/Hav DS Dhami and Gunner Anand went to explore the Jumma- Dunagiri- Nandi Kund- Deodi- Tadak Tolma route. After about half an hour's trek they reached village Ruing and further moved to cross village Chancha and reached village Dunagiri after about two hours. Although the route was long, the ascent was gradual. On reaching village Dunagiri the party met locals and gathered more information about the route and the prevailing local customs. The locals informed the team that ponies can be used for load ferry till Nandi Kund and as the rest of the track was precarious, with snow, the loads would have to be ferried using porters. The locals also informed the party that no camp should be established at Nandi Kund due to its religious importance. With these inputs the party moved further to gather first hand information about the approach route towards the base camp. But as they moved ahead, the weather packed up and the party was forced to pull back. They spent the night in Dunagiri village and returned to the road head camp the next day with all the information that they could gather.
On the basis of information gathered from all the three parties on the possible routes to the base camp it was decided that the team would build up the base camp using route Jumma- Dunagiri - Nandi Kund. Deodi- Tadak Tolma. The other two routes would be used subsequently for maintenance purposes, using porters. To this effect a party led by Captain Alok and fourteen team members proceeded to village Dunagiri with ration and cook house loads on 18 May.
The route to village Dunagiri is approximately 9 km with a gradual ascent from the road head village Juma. The village has a derelict hydro electricity generation power plant that has not seen generation of electricity since its inception. The team leader planned to shift the road head camp from Suraithota to Juma.
On 25 May 2005, loads were shifted from Jumma to Nandi Kund by means of ponies and porters. Beyond Nandi Kund the route was unfit for animals due to snow conditions so loads were moved through porters and team members. The route to the base camp was 27 km and took about three days of approach march to reach the base camp.
Establishment and Stocking of Higher Camps
After acclimatisation at the base camp, ferries for higher camps started from 25 May 2005. Camp 1 was selected at 4510 m on the eastern face. However after the leader carried out a recce of the northern face, it seemed a better option after negotiating the Gankhwi glacier that descends down from the mountain.
Camp 1 (4715 m) was established and occupied on 8 June. This was about 5 hrs from the base camp and three tents were pitched at this camp, ten ropes and four ladders were fixed for reaching Camp 1. Camp 2 was established on the 11 June at 4935 m. This was a climb of almost three hours and involved negotiating an overhang where 12 ropes were fixed and each member had to jummar up to C2. Camp 3 was established on 15 June at 5627 m. Unlike earlier camps this camp had adequate space though the camping area had many crevasses. The time taken from Camp 2 to Camp 3 was approximately eight hours and about 27 ropes were fixed en route. The route involved negotiating three vertical rock faces. This was the main camp for the summit attempt. Camp 4 was established on 23 June at 6530 m. It involved fixing sixteen ropes negotiating smooth vertical rocks crossing razor sharp ridge lines and snowfields. This was the most technical stretch and took the rope fixing for almost eight days to complete. During the route opening an additional tent for keeping the stores midway to Camp 4 was set up, named as Camp 3 Alfa. At Camp 4 only one tent could be pitched and hence 7 climbers had to stay in one tent as on one side was a steep cliff and the other side a steep precipice.
The stocking and establishment of various camps was completed by 24 June, and summit attempts were planned between 20 to 25 June 2005. On 24 June 2005 the first summit party, which was at Camp 4 consisting of seven members lead by Capt Vimal Kumar started at 0630 hrs in bad weather. After about one hour weather cleared and the team fixed two ropes and made their way through high velocity winds and sub-freezing conditions. They fixed two more ropes en route that were kept for roping
up. Moving up the steep slope without any fixed rope they reached the summit at 1505 hrs. They took photographs of the neighbouring peaks and also photographed the reading of GPS and Shinto Watch. After spending forty minutes at the peak they returned to Camp 4 at 2000 hrs totally exhausted. The second team led by Naib Subedar A. Bhimappa and three NCO's occupied Camp 4 on the 25 June and reached the summit on the 26 June at about 1600 hrs and returned to Camp 4 by 2030 hrs.
The summit of Dunagiri is about 800 m of steep climb after crossing a rocky cliff. The summit is a corniced area of about 20 m in length and about 10 m wide. It gives an excellent view of the surrounding peaks i.e. Nanda Devi East, Nanda Devi main, Changabang, Tirsuli, Hardeol, Lampak, Purbi Dunagiri and Kalanka. The summit gives a clear view of the northern, western and eastern ridges that meet at the summit. On the southern side there is a sudden drop, which restricts the view of the southern ridge. Towards the north, the Tibetan plateau can be seen clearly.
Lead by Capt Ashish Borgaonkar, 13 members summitted an unnamed peak known as Pt 6112 from Camp 3 on 25 June 2005.
Winding up of higher camps and subsequently the base camps was done during bad weather and it took six days to retrieve all the ropes and equipment from the mountain. The team gathered at Jumma roadhead camp on the 10 July 2005.
Regiment of Artillery mountaineering expedition to Dunagiri (7066 m), May - June 2005. The team was led by Col. M. M. Masur. 11 members reached the summit (in two parties) via the northeast ridge. (24 and 26 June 2005). 13 members scaled unnamed peak height of 6112m. (25 June 2005).
7 A New Route on Shivling
Alpine Style Climb via North Face - Northwest Ridge
Two Japanese climbers, Kazuya Hiraide (26) and Kei Taniguchi (33), opened a new route on the north face - northwest ridge on Shivling (6543 m) in the fall of2005. The following is a summary of an article published in a Japanese magazine Yama to Keikoku (Mountain and valley) January 2006 (Text: Sumiko Kashiwa, Photos: Kazuya Hiraide and Kei Taniguchi). Harish Kapadia, Hon. Editor of the Himalayan Journal was kind enough to provide the JAN (Japanese Alpine News) with photographs of the east and north faces of Shivling.
The Japanese party was lucky as they approached the mountain. Due to prolonged bad weather, Polish and Czech parties attempting Shivling and a Korean party to Meru had already left the mountains. However, the
weather improved soon after they started the walk from Gangotri. On the second day of the walk-in, brilliant Shivling came into sight for the first time. The base camp was established at 4300 m on 28 September and the team made an excursion to Baby Shivling (5500 m) for acclimatisation.
On 8 October (fine), they set off from base camp with climbing gear, a tent, sleeping bag covers and supplies (food) for five days. On a small flat rock at the foot of the north face an advance base camp (4750 m) was set up.
On 9 October (fine then, later snow), climbing started. They traversed a crevasse zone and then climbed an ice and snow wall smoothly by double axes. Soon after, the first rock wall, which was one of the key climbs in the entire route, appeared. No axes could be used since there was thin and dry snow on the rock. They found holds and stances by wiping the snow. C1 (5650 m) was placed on the lower part of triangle snow slope.
10 October (fine), the snow was steeper than anticipated. The angle was 50 - 70 degree and in some parts even steeper. The snow was hard and compact. They had feared avalanches, but fortunately they were not exposed to danger of avalanches. Small powder snow avalanches took place sometimes, but they were harmless. On the upper part of the triangle snow slope, C2 (6070 m) was set up. It was just like hanging bivouac.
On 11 October (fine, later snow), they tackled the second rock wall, which was also crucial and led to the junction of the north face and the northwest ridge. Though the last part was very difficult, they could luckily mange to reach the upper part of serac zone. The ridge ahead was not so easy. They were unable to untie the rope. C3 (6200 m) was set up on the ridge.
On 12 October (fine, later snow), they carried on the ascent toward the summit, climbing ice and snow wall of 60 degree by double axes. They stood atop Shivling at noon. After 30 minutes they started the descent. They stayed at C3 so that they might pass the serac zone early morning on the following day. They returned to the base camp on the following day.
8 Obra Gad
Gerry and Louise Wilson
It started like so many adventures must have done, in Stanford's map and book shop in Long Acre, London. Hot foot from our home in the north of England, we met up with friends, all browsing in the basement of Stanford's. After buying two maps of the Garhwal Himalaya we repaired to a nearby Starbucks and, fortified with Lattes and Cappuccinos, we discussed plans.
Chris Bonington and Harish Kapadia had introduced us to the Indian Himalaya in 2003 and we were now preparing for our fourth exploration of lesser- known areas of the great range. The Obra gad valley in northern Garhwal was the choice and mid - May to mid-June the time. All that remained was to book flights, confirm a few details and meet up in the Delhi YMCA in mid - May.
As people who have loved mountains for most of their lives, it has been a particular joy to us to be able to trek and climb modest peaks in the Indian Himalaya over the past four years as we are both now in our mid- sixties (Gerry 66, Louise 65). Our team this year was to consist of four 'seniors' - Harish Kapadia, Suman Dubey and ourselves. The other six members were all in their thirties but the mixture worked well and the levels of activity meshed perfectly.
We arrived in Delhi on 19 May and after three and a half hours sleep, were up in readiness to meet with everyone at 5.30 a.m. in the foyer. By 5.50 we were beginning to wonder if we'd got the wrong day when a rucksacked figure appeared and introduced himself as Rajesh Gadgil, who was to be one of the three climbers on our team. Suki Seth, a climatologist from Mumbai with whom we'd trekked the previous year in Ladakh, appeared next, followed by Rajal Upadhyaya and his wife, Radha who'd been with us in Kullu in 2003 and Ladakh in 2005. Finally Harish joined us all and we were soon on our way to Delhi railway station.
Here we met up with Suman Dubey, Dow Jones Representative in India. He, too, was an old friend from three previous trips. We fought our way through the usual melee across the bridge to what turned out to be the wrong platform, and back again to board the Shatabdi express to Dehra Dun. A nine-hour Jeep journey followed, which landed us up, at
10.00 p.m. at a Forest Rest House at Netwar, the entrance to the National Park. Here, in the dark, we met the third climber, Vinay Hegde from Mumbai, the eighth member of our party.
Breakfast next morning was a convivial affair as we were joined by followed by a short drive over very rough roads, being repaired after the winter's damage, took us to Jakhol (2335 m), where we left the Jeeps, and climbed steeply up behind the village to reach the rest house in which we were to stay for the night. During that afternoon Ashish Shah, the final team member, arrived after flying from a holiday in Goa, taking the overnight train from Delhi to Dehra Dun, and ajeep from there to Jakol ! An IT specialist from Mumbai, this was his first trek. Now our adventure could really begin.
The following morning we strolled down through Jakhol and stopped to talk to the headman, who told us that in ten days time their Devta (God) was to be taken up the Obra Gad to where our base camp would be, for a puja. The last time this had been done was about ten years ago, so it was a very special occasion and they were expecting up to five hundred people.
After the village our path descended steeply through mixed forest to a fine bridge over the river Obra, near its confluence with the Supin gad. We began to gain height again through pastures, following the left bank of the river until we reached our first camp site near the small Obra Mandir (temple) (2290 m), which was surrounded by two or three unoccupied wooden dwellings, some small cultivated fields, and a crystal clear spring. A short afternoon storm gave us little hint of what the weather had in store for us.
The route next day traversed a very narrow part of the valley which resulted in numerous ascents and descents before we broke out of the forest onto pasture land, thickly vegetated, especially with dock, and covered with the wild strawberries, for which the Garhwal is renowned. By now it was raining heavily and a rather bedraggled team settled in for their second night but we had gained just over 500 m in height and estimated we were at 2810 m.
On the third day the weather was cool and overcast and the route left the forest behind. Soon after lunch we reached a beautiful meadow camp site, ringed with marsh marigolds and rather faded primula denticulata, with rhododendron campanulatum on the slopes across the river. Gradually the sun came out and we had our first glimpse of the high peaks at the head of the valley. Again another satisfactory height gain as we were at 3420 m.
The following day was both short and sweet as we soon arrived at an emerald green meadow split by a sparkling clear stream, fringed with marsh marigolds, primula involucrata and a few emerging orchids, interspersed with tiny, startlingly blue gentians. To our delight we found ourselves camping only a few metres beyond this idyllic spot. For once the sun was shining and we soon established ourselves amongst carpets of anemone obtusiloba, whilst the pure white flowers of the wild onion covered the ground like a dusting of snow high up the hillsides. In the late afternoon the high peaks cleared totally from the wispy clouds in which they had been wreathed and there was much photography and speculating on routes by the Vinay, Rajesh and Rajal.
It is possible that this area was Himri Thach (3685 m) though the map showed three thaches in the upper reaches of the Obra gad, the top one of which was sited high on the Devkyari glacier, so we speculated that perhaps all three names had been transposed higher on the map than on the ground.
47. 'Jairai Rocks", above Himri Thach in center of the Obra gad valley. (Harish Kapadia)
We were now in dramatic mountain scenery with great views of the north west face of Ranglana (5554 m) which was the climbers' first objective. They went off on a recce the next morning (25 May) and returned just
before lunch with the news that they thought there was a feasible route up this imposing wall. There was a cirque of three peaks: Ranglana (5554 m), Dhodu (5418 m) and Gunchha (5130 m). During the afternoon the weather broke with torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightning, which drove us into the dining tent where we established what was to become a regular routine of reading, playing Scrabble and listening to iPods.
26 May was a beautiful morning with clear skies, although there was still heavy cloud down the valley towards Jakhol. The porters had told us there were four small lakes on the opposite side of the Obra, under the slopes of Dhodu (5418 m), so, taking advantage of the sunny morning, we joined Suki, Suman, and Ashish, on a trip to the lakes. To reach them we had to walk up the valley beside the river until it was possible to cross where it disappeared under a huge boulder field. As we gained height, more big snow-clad mountains and huge granite spires surrounding the head of the valley began to be visible.
27 May dawned fine again, but still the clouds were massed lower down. However, the climbers set off to establish two higher camps in preparation for an attempt, as an acclimatisation climb, on Gunchha and Harish went off to recce what would be our advance base at Devkyari Thach. Between intermittent bad weather we explored the area around Himri Thatch. On 28th May the climbers established their high camp on a moraine rib in readiness for a summit bid the next day.
On 29 May (Gerry's 67th birthday), Suman, Suki and the two ofus set off up a steep, narrow side valley to get some views across to Dhodu ka Gunchha (5130 m), a subsidiary summit ofDhodu, where the climbers should be. Around 9.00 a.m. we spotted three tiny matchstick figures on the summit snowfield. Suman managed to video them and we later saw them start their descent. After that Gerry and I continued up the gully to get some views of the impressive granite ridge on the northern side of the Obra gad.
We were now acclimatised and fit for the move to our advance base at 4030 m, beneath the tongue of the Devkyari glacier. On the morning of the 30th it was raining but after a short delay waiting for it to clear, we set off on the three and a half hour walk to advance base. Even though Harish and Suman had told us about it, we were amazed at our first glimpse of the enormously wide, perfectly flat-bottomed valley, about three kilometres in length, leading up to the moraine plug descending from the snout of the glacier, which formed Devkyari Thach. In addition it was dominated by the impressive north face of Ranglana with its snowfields, hanging glaciers and tumbling seracs, all swept by regular snow slides. It was quite a magnificent situation. Just after lunch the climbers rejoined us, pleased with their climb, although disappointed that nothing else in that area had been in condition. However, their next plan was to attempt something above the Devkyari glacier.
Apart from meeting the occasional shepherd or goatherd on our approach to or descent from higher ground, our explorations with Harish had always been to wild and remote, places devoid of people or even signs of people. However, at 7.00 a.m. on 31 May all that changed as our peaceful morning erupted to the sound of drums, music and cheering men escorting their Devta. They processed through our camp site to a cave some 250 m away where they paused before continuing to the toe of the glacial moraine which was the birthplace of their god, Someshwar Devta (another name for Shiva).
After a short ceremony there the headman chose several strong men for the honour of carrying the Devta up to the glacier to bathe him. Whilst they were doing this the remaining men gathered rocks and built a perfect small shrine, presumably, we thought, to mark the Devta's birthplace.
In the afternoon a puja was held at the cave near our camp and we all went to join in and watch the dancing which followed. We could hear the sounds of celebration continuing far into the night but that did not prevent the procession setting off at 5.00 a.m. the following day, to return to Jakhol and further festivities there, in which the women and children would join.
For once it was a fine morning the two of us set off for an exploration of one of the side valleys. Gerry and I continued on up a snow - filled gully, intent on reaching the horizon to get views into the Supin gad. With one eye firmly on the gathering clouds we turned back from our high point of 4600 m, and descended quickly on the snow to the main valley, making it back to our tents just before the rain started and set in for the night.
2 June was totally overcast, as was the 3rd, but Radha, Ashish and Gerry and I toiled up the moraine beside the Devkyari glacier to see if we could catch a glimpse of the climbers' camp. We did locate them perched high on the moraine ahead of us, but there seemed to be little activity. Conditions on the mountains presented no opportunities for them to progress to their next objective.
As the weather was deteriorating fast we started our descent. The rain came on and the mist reduced our visibility to a few metres, which made things quite interesting as Harish had moved the camp down to a less exposed site, whose location we weren't absolutely sure of. But using our memories of the approach, supported by careful compass bearings, we were relieved when at last we saw our tents looming up out of the mist.
The climbers followed the day after having decided it wasn't worth sitting out yet more bad weather, and we all agreed on an earlier-than- planned return to Jakhol. This was completed in one long day, to the Obra temple, then the final haul next morning up to the jeeps waiting near the village, ironically in warm sunshine.
We had enjoyed yet another wonderful trip to a beautiful unspoilt area, which held something for each of us; impressive peaks, superb flowers and outstanding scenery. Only the weather had let us down. Despite this our love affair with the Indian Himalaya remains undiminished.
Members: Gerry and Louise Wilson, Radha and Rajal Upadhyaya, Rajesh Gadgil, Vinay Hegde, Harish Kapadia, Ashish Shah, Sukeshi Seth and Suman Dubey.
A trek to the Obra gad in Garhwal. The trek was undertaken in May- June 2006.
9 Mountains Surrounding the Headwaters of Pare Chu Valley, North Spiti
It was when I stood on top of a virgin peak in Ladakh (in 1997, Kula 6564 m) that I first had saw the remote mountains of Spiti. I found a dominating peak among the white wave stretching against the skyline, which was later identified as the peak of Gya, 6794 m, the highest one in Spiti area, and also keenly watched the fascinatingly shaped twin peaks adjacent westward to it. Why couldn't those veiled peaks be my next destination! - another new dream immediately came up into my mind. Well, at any rate, the purpose of climbing to the top of a mountain is to find another one worth climbing, as declared by some mountaineers with insight.
Harish Kapadia, when he visited Japan in 1998, told me that many peaks around the head of Pare chu had remained unvisited, and after his careful inspection on the panoramic photos taken by our party, asserted that the twin peaks (afterward named Umdung Kangri 6643 m) were not yet climbed by anybody including Indian groups who had actively trodden the neighbouring mountains up from Lingti valley, on the opposite side of Pare chu. Additional information given by his bibliography were valuable as well, such that the photos taken from Lingti valley side (H.J. Vol.44) suggested another unclimbed peak, Lhakhang 6250 m, to be our incidental target. His description on Parang la 5580 m, located at the watershed between Spiti river(exactly its tributary, Parilungbi river) and Pare chu (also another tributary with long and big bend), recounted its
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history as an early trade road leading to Ladakh (H. Kapadia Spiti: Adventures in the Trans - Himalaya) and gave us a hint of a possible approach route to the mountains.
Japanese Alpine Club Tokai Section, of which I am a member , had had several expeditions to climb unknown mountains in the Indian Himalaya ever since 1988, mainly in the Ladakh area, and later in Spiti. Our expeditions to Indian mountains were organised specifically by aging members of the club who still maintained interests in pursuing pleasure of exploration despite their limited physical capabilities. This Spiti trip was also planned similarly and our first trial took place in 1999, which resulted in successful first ascents of Umdung Kangri and Dhhun 6200 m after marching across Parang la. The latter was a peak close to Lhakhang, also located at the head of the eastern innermost valley of Pare chu; Pakshi Lamur. I was one of the summiteers of Dhhun. All of us erroneously regarded this peak as Lhakhang. We tramped up all the way, mostly in limited visibility due to fog. After returning home, however, we identified it as an unnamed peak lying 1.5 km north of Lhakhang through map reading and named it Dhhun (Guardian) later.
Actually Lhakhang dominates the innermost glacier basin of Pakshi Lamur valley. You would regret it if you accidentally failed to ascend a hidden peak and left it unclimbed despite its secrecy and technical feasibility. But to my joy, another chance came up in 2005, when JAC Tokai section took up its 8th expedition to the Indian Himalaya. Our previous experience made us pick the Spiti mountains again and Lhakhang as the target. Applicants wishing to join turned up in large numbers, mainly elderly members of the Club who were hardly experienced expeditionists. Our plan was therefore designed to add some other easier but unclimbed peaks around Parang la as additional targets.
The approach march included crossing the pass and there were various other hardships such as organising load animals, walks on glaciers, adaptation to height, etc., but on entering the valley head without toiling through a long upstream way from lower riverbed, you can enjoy high plateaus, over 4000 m lightly accessible to surrounding ramparts. There are many untouched peaks in this unknown mountain area, where you could fulfill your curiosity although it may not be the place for technical challenges by Super - alpinism aspirants.
JAC Tokai Section 2005 expedition
The 2005 expedition started in Kaja on 23 July, with 48 mules carrying all gear and food , followed the Parilungbi river via Dumla, Thalta, Borogen, and crossed over Parang la on 26 July. Then BC was set up at the snout of Parang glacier (5200 m). Our caravan ran quite smoothly thanks to continuing good weather. Thereafter we divided the expedition into the following two parties:
The party to 6206 m and 6080 m unnamed peaks west of Parang la, led by the author
(Members: T.Suzuki (70), Kunihiko Noro (64), Ms.Midori Masada (50))
31 July: We crossed upper Parang glacier westward and established AC at 5800 m. There was no crevasse seen on the glacier but several streams run on the ice, which had to be negotiated carefully.
2 August : We left AC at 6:00 a.m. and followed up snow filled gully stretching up to the top of Peak 6206 m. There was technical difficulty on the route. Suzuki, Noro, and Masada reached the summit of this easy but
unclimbed peak at 8:00 a.m. along with the liaison officer and one high altitude porter.
3 August: From AC, Noro and Masada departed to ascend another unclimbed peak of 6080 m located between Peak 6206 m and Parang la, which they successfully scaled via its north slope together with two high altitude porters.
The party to Lhakhang but later changed to aim at Dhhun, led by T. Mizuno
(Members: Tatsumi Mizuno (54), Tokutaro Yanagihara (58), Kazuhiro Mizuno (58), Ms.Takako Miura (62), Ms.Kiyoko Kanada (50))
28 July: The team went up along Pakshi Lamur river up to 5100 m point and camped there.
31 July: They reached the glacier snout, where BC was set up.
1 August : They reconnoitered possible route to Lhakhang up at 5600 m, from where a snow arete stretching up which looked somewhat collapsible. They decided to avoid the risk of avalanches and returned.
3 August: They decided to give up Lhakhang and turn to climb Dhhun instead. Set up SC ('Summit Camp') at 5600 m on the glacier bed beneath Dhhun.
4 August : Started AC at 4:00 a.m. and climbed the north slope covered with hard snow. After some snow climbs, all 5 members reached the top at 11:00 a.m. together with liaison officer and four high altitude porters. Unwilling to negotiate soft afternoon snow on the north slope on their return, they climbed down the west rock face which was harder than anticipated, and eventually safely returned AC at 3:00 p.m.
Reviewing mountains at the head Pare Chu area
So, Lhakhang still remains unclimbed. What is more, around upper part of Pare Chu, there are several other noteworthy unclimbed peaks. Since 1995 the western part of Spiti river has been open to foreign mountaineers, but north and east of Spiti river is still restricted and you have to depend on reluctant Indian authorities to accept visitors other than Indians and mere trekkers. Nevertheless, the north Spiti mountain area, which roughly includes the terrain between the north of mainstream of Spiti river and south of curve of the Pare Chu river, still challenges you to enjoy its attractive aspects.
Indian mountaineers who made first ascents of major peaks extensively explored the core area surrounding the valley of Lingti and Chaksachan Lungpa. I would like to mention the north and east side of the watershed dividing Spiti and Pare Chu, i.e. those mountains on or north of this watershed extending about 50 km and only approachable from Pare Chu valley.
Peaks surrounding the right - shore tributary valley dividing Pare Chu at the north of Umdung: In addition to the two climbed peaks; Umdung Kangri 6643 m (1999 by JAC Tokai) and Gyadung 6160 m (1987 by the Indian group led by Harish Kapadia), there are a few unclimbed peaks among which 6367 m and 6321 m are quite fascinating.
Peaks on the north of Takling valley which flows into Pare Chu at Dutung In this area you can identify several over 6000 m unclimbed peaks, such as Monto 6231 m, unnamed peaks of the height 6204 m, 6122 m, 6210 m and others.
1) Peaks at the confluence of Pare Chu and Pakshi Lamur
At Kharsa Gongma, two upper streams join and form the main flow of Pare Chu. In view of comparison of water flow, Pakshi Lamur river is regarded the main stream stretching to the real water source of Pare chu. Another stream comes from Parang glacier flowing down from Parang la. There are two dominating peaks; 6307 m (or 6401 m) and 6320 m in front of Kharsa Gongma, the west and south side of which are guarded by nearly 1000 m high steep walls consisted of loose rocks apparently not climbable. Possible route may be on the north side where small glaciers stretch up to both peaks.
2) Peaks at the head of Pakshi Lamur
The head of this valley is covered with a flat glacier 8 km long and 3 km wide, whose scale is rather large compared to other glaciers in neighbouring regions. Five peaks surround this glacier basin : Two climbed peaks - Parilungbi 6166 m (1987- by the Kapadia group) and Dhhun 6200 m (1999 and 2005 by JAC Tokai), and 3 unclimbed peaks - Lhakhang 6205 m, nameless 6228 m and 6247 m.
3) Peaks surrounding the cirque-shaped glacier located west of the head glacier
Four peaks are identified : Two climbed peaks - 6240 m and 6100 m (climbed by an Indian (Bengal) party in 2004), and two unclimbed snow- covered beautiful peaks - 6181 m and 6160 m.
Harish Kapadia: Spiti Adventures in the Trans-Himalaya, Indus, New Delhi, 1996.
H.J. Vol.44, Pp. 96-101, 'A Return to Lingti 1987' by Harish Kapadia H.J. Vol.57, Pp. 195-198, 'The First Ascent of Dhhun' by T. Suzuki
Review of peaks at head of the Pare chu valley, Spit.
10 Across Pangpo La
On 16 July 1995 Harish Kapadia made the first ascent of Lungser Kangri (6666 m), the highest peak in Rupshu, Ladakh and took photos and bearings including one of a peak named Monto on the map. In 2005, ten years later, we were excited to join him on a trip to try cross the Pangpo la and have a closer look at Monto
We started with a train journey from Delhi to Kalka and thereafter in jeeps to Manali. From Manali, it was a frantic drive through the Rohtang pass, through the high altitude traffic jam! Suman managed to charm the guards who let us through despite the long traffic queues - to the calm of Jispa. Here, we spent a relaxing day acclimatising at a lovely hotel by the Bhaga river. While, bouldering on some nearby rocks, in the early afternoon, I was rewarded with a sighting of a red fox that just made my day.
We continued on from Jispa to Darcha along what has to be one of the most beautiful drives with stunning views of the Mulkila cirque, over the Baralacha la, and past Suraj tal. Each time I vis