Major Expeditions to the Indian Himalaya 2015

From information supplied by Lindsay Griffin (AAJ Senior Editor), and the American Alpine Journal




Western Garhwal

  1.  Thalay Sagar, (6904 m), Gangotri valley, northwest ridge, partial new route - ascent

    Team – Spanish-Italian

    In August-September 2015 a Spanish-Italian team comprising Felix Criado, Adrian Legarra, Txus Lizarraga, Ekaitz Maiz, and Alex Txikon (Spain), together with Daniele Nardi (Italy), climbed new ground on the northwest ridge of Thalay Sagar (6904 m), terminating their ascent with a rappel onto the normal route 500 m below the summit. The Spanish-Italian team followed the snow/ice slopes of a Swiss route for 700 m to a camp at 6040 m, and then broke out onto the subsidiary pillar to the right. They climbed this in 11 pitches (520 m of climbing, M5/6 A3 WI4+) to an exit onto the west ridge, from where they descended. The partial new line, which stops well short of the summit, has been named Battiti di Liberta.

Eastern Garhwal

  1. Nanda Devi East (7434 m), northeast ridge – attempt; Shalang-Poting traverse

    Team – British

    Mark Thomas and Martin Moran attempted the unclimbed northeast ridge of Nanda Devi East between 20 September and 1 October 2015. Later they made a crossing of the 5595 m col between the Shalang and Poting valleys. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.

Central Garhwal

  1. Nilkanth (6596 m), southeast and west ridges - attempts

    Team – American

    Jason Thompson and Anne Gilbert Chase opted to try for the unclimbed southeast ridge of Nilkanth. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.

  2. Bhagirathi-III (6454 m), east face and north ridge - ascent

    Team – Indian

    Pathajatra Club of Budgebudge, West Bengal along with IMF launched this expedition with five members led by Debabrata Mukerjee.

    Bhagirathi-III (6454 m, 30°52’16.5”N/79°07’56.1”E) lies between the Gangotri and Vasuki glacier in the Garhwal Himalaya of Uttarakhand. It is the middle peak of the Bhagirathi group. On 15 September 2015, six members and support staff stood atop the summit, making it the first Indian ascent.

Himachal Pradesh



  1. Pyagski (6090 m), northwest face - ascent

    Team – Japanese

    This peak lies on the eastern rim of the largest of the four main glaciers that rise south from the Karcha river, its head forming the watershed with the lower Bara Shigri glacier. On 4 July, 2014, three members from the Japanese Alpine Club Kazuo Hoshi, Miyo Suzuki, and Masayo Tsuchiya, with four high altitude porters established Camp 2 on the glacier at 5100 m. Two days later they left at 3:00 a.m., ascended the glacier and then up a steep northwest-facing slope of deep snow to the rock-strewn summit, which they reached at 8:30 a.m.

  2. Goat peak (6125 m), Upper Darcha valley, south ridge - ascent

    Team – Indian

    On 4 September, 2015, an Indian expedition, using fixed rope throughout, made the second ascent of Goat peak via the south ridge. The 10-member expedition, under Dipankar Ghosh, had planned to attempt both Peak 6115 m and 6125 m on the Indian Survey, unaware that the latter was Goat peak, first climbed in 2013 by a British team.

  3. CB6A, - south face and east flank (5450 m), Chhatru nala; Peak 5100 m, Miyar valley – ascents

    Team - American

    On 17 September, 2016 Crystal Davis-Robbins and Whitney Clark made the first ascent of the south face and east flank of CB6A (5450 m), located near the small village of Chhatru on the Chandra River. They set up camp at c. 4300 m in a beautiful meadow. Three striking peaks shot into the sky but they eventually opted for a line up the middle pyramid that began up the south face. They moved camp to 4900 m, just above the glacier. The next day at 4:00 a.m. moving on a blanket of snow with temperature well below freezing, they set off towards a steep and loose gully. They found a cairn on the summit and later discovered that a Finnish party had climbed the east face. The Americans used their rappel anchors to descend. They named the route Nibbi-Jibbi (400 m, 5.10-).

    On 29 September, they climbed a new route on a possibly unclimbed sub-summit east of the Castle. After resting for a few days they drove to the town of Shukto, the last village up the Miyar nala. While exploring the valley, they spotted a rocky peak east of Castle peak. Climbing all day, they finally reached the summit around 8:00 p.m. They named the 600 m route Poornima and found no sign of other ascents of this summit.



  1. Shoshala (4700 m) and Raldang (5499 m), Baspa valley - attempts

    Team - American

    The team, interested in big wall free climb attempts opted to try a line on Raldang in Baspa valley. They were drawn to a pillar on the left side that would give vertical climbing to a ridge, sprinkled with snow and ice. They bivouacked below this at c. 4000 m and then each led three long pitches when it began to rain. A team member Crystal was injured and the attempt was aborted.

    After a few days in Sangla village, they went back to their original goal - a new line on Shoshala.

    The approach was steep and slippery, and they climbed over five days but pace was too slow, daylight short, it was cold and they were running out of food. Defeated they descended.

Jammu & Kashmir



  1. Nigutse South (5678 m) Chomotang II (6065 m), northwest face - ascents

    Team - Australian

    Chris White and Damien Gildea approached from Leh reaching base camp at 4885 m on 26 June 2015. The next day they climbed the peak immediately above base camp, the southernmost of a stretched massif that runs south from the Nigutse la (c. 5100 m). They went straight up the south face reaching the summit at 8:30 a.m. They named this summit Nigutse South, and got a good view of the glacier on the north side of Chomotang.

    The next day they reached the glacier and camped at 5425 m. They set off and reached the right hand of two broad gullies on the northwest face of Chomotang. They climbed un-roped, and reached the top at 9:20 a.m., where the GPS read 6065 m.

    Later, in what some locals said was the wettest July in memory, Damien made an ascent of the normal route on Stok Kangri with Lars Svens.

  2. Kakstet Kangri (6561 m), Pangong range - first winter ascent

    Team - Indian

    Kakstet Kangri is an attractive mountain on the south bank of the Pangong Tso, and is named after Kakstet village, from where it can be seen. In February 2015 an earlier route was followed by an 11-member Indian Mountaineering Foundation expedition, to make the first winter ascent.

    The Pangong range lies north of the true crest of the Ladakh range, and as it is effectively an off-shoot of the Saser Muztagh, it is more of an eastern extension of the Karakoram.

  3. Kang Yatze III (6310 m), northeast ridge - ascent

    Team - British

    In August 2016 William Newsom, Simon Ridout, and Martin Moran made an ascent of Kang Yatze III in central Ladakh. Details are available elsewhere in this Volume.

  4. Unnamed Peak (5600 m) - ascent

    Team - American

    Kathy Connelly and Ed Harstead, in the summer of 2014 reached the seldom-visited Sniu valley and then camped at 4900 m in the south western branch of the Sniamo valley. Gurmat, the guide, Lotus, his assistant and Ed moved south from base camp, reached a glacial lake, and cramponed up the left side of the glacier above to a saddle. From here they turned southwest and climbed the ridge to a 5600 m summit (ca 34°22’20”N, 77°22’13”E, Google Earth).


East Karakoram

  1. Kunzang Valley - several first ascents

    Team – Indian

    In 2015 an Indian Air Force team explored the Kungzang valley and climbed several peaks. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.

  2. Rongdo Valley, Peak X3 (c. 6200 m), southeast ridge - attempt

    Team – British

    In June 2015, Andrew Basford, Katie Farrell, Matthew Fuller, Steve Hutton, Katie McKay, Dan Slome and Ed Poulter, set out to summit an unclimbed 6000er via the largely unexplored upper southeast Shukpa Kunchang and upper Rongdo glaciers. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.

  3. Peaks 6195 m and 6305 m, Ryong Kharu valley - ascents

    Team – Indian

    A team from Himalayan Club Mumbai comprising Rajesh Gadgil, Vineeta Muni, Sagar Shinde, Nikunj Vora, Kushala Vora and Divyesh Muni explored the Ryong Kharu valley and made first ascents of two peaks. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.



  1. Taare Parbat, northeast summit, east ridge – ascent

    Team - American

    In early September 2015, Rachel Spitzer and her team established a high camp (4800 m) at the base of their intended objective, after crossing the Dalung river and ascending steep grassy slopes and moraines for approximately 600 m. Approaching the east ridge of what they referred to as Taare Parbat (Star peak), they climbed on the headwall that was primarily characterized by excellent water ice and mixed terrain. Once they reached the prominent ridge, the rock quality deteriorated, and thus careful climbing was needed. The final pitch to the lower northeast top consisted of mixed terrain and some alpine ice.

    Descending towards the south, they eventually reached a snowfield and were able to loop back to the high camp. It was a round trip 15-hour push from this camp and the team did not place any bolts.

  2. Gompe Tokpo glacier, T18 (Peak 6184 m), west ridge – ascent

    Team - Indian

    The Kolkata section of the Himalayan Club organized a trip to climb this virgin peak in July 2014. With the help of four Sherpas, the team made base camp and Camp 1 on the Gompe Tokpo glacier, and then climbed a steep ice couloir leading to the broad col between Peak 6431 m (T16) and Peak 6162 m (T19). The team fixed ropes, negotiating a 70 m section of 60° and dodging rock fall, before reaching the col through knee deep snow in late afternoon. They pitched two tents on the 10m-wide boulder-strewn col, which they recorded as having an altitude of 6009 m. Standing on the col between the two mountains is the rocky Pyramid peak 6184 m (T18), and when that evening the Sherpas failed to find a route to either Peaks 6431 m or 6162 m, they opted to attempt this other summit the following day.

    Leaving at 6:30 a.m. Subrata Dey, Rajeev Kumar (leader), Aadrito Paul, Ganesh Saha, and Arun Sen, with Sherpas Dawa, Pasang, and Phurba fixed 850 m of rope from the tents, to the foot of the rocky west ridge of T18, and then up over loose rock and snow, to the summit, which they measured as 6212 m. The time was 9:30 a.m. and by 4:30 p.m. they were back at Camp 1.

  3. Peaks T19 (6162 m) and T20 (6157 m) - attempts

    Team – Japanese

    A student team from Nippon University Alpine Club attempted T19 and T20 which lie a little way up and on the north side of the Gompe Tokpo.

    Originally, the students planned to approach Padam from Manali, via Darcha and the Shingo la, but they were forced to reach Padam via a trek from Wanla, as the road after the Shingo la was closed due to flood damage. The climbers reached the col between the two summits at c. 5600 m, but were unable to progress in either direction, as the difficult rock and ice on the ridges above was too much for their climbing ability.

  4. Kormolmshe Tokpo, Peak 5916 m (Kusyabla), southeast ridge, Temple, east-northeast face and southeast ridge - ascents.

    Team – British

    In August 2016 Drew Cook, Gus Morton, Knut Tønsberg, and Derek Buckle extensively explored the lower regions of the Korlomshe Tokpo glacier to identify several potential climbing objectives. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.

  5. Tetleh nala - various ascents

    Team – Slovenian

    From late July to September 2015, Anastasija Davidova and Matija Jost of the Alpine Association of Slovenia spent 35 days in the Tetleh nala, one of the three main offshoots of the Raru valley. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.

  6. L5 (5897 m) (Sgurr a Mhadaidh Fuar), Surle Puh valley – ascent; L4, 6000 m, east face - attempt

    Team – British

    In August 2015, Struan Chisholm, Sam Newmark, Calum McLellan, and Calum Nicoll arrived in Leh and headed to a mountain range brought to light by the 2009 Kyoto Zanskar expedition.

    They climbed L 5 and named the peak Sgurr a Mhadaidh Fuar (or Hill of the Cold Hound in Scottish Gaelic). They attempted L 4 following the same route as to L5, but near the top of the scree moved left (south) to gain the long west ridge of L4. But clouds had drifted in and they would not be able to reach the top and descend before nightfall, so they returned.

  7. Peak 6010 m, southwest face and south ridge; Sgurr Kuddu (5300 m), northwest flank – ascents; Peak 5970 m, east ridge - attempt

    Team – British and American

    Robert Adams, Tom Adams, Steve Kennedy, and leader Andy Nisbet (all U.K.), and Bill McConachie and Paul Swienton (U.S.) visited an east-west side valley of one branch of the Darcha-Miyar valley, immediately north of Ramjak (6318 m).

    Bill, Andy, and high-altitude porter Mangal Singh approached Peak 6010 m along a rocky ridge, followed by a traverse across an easy glacier, to reach the foot of the southwest face. They climbed snow and then a couloir on the face to reach the south ridge at 5730 m, where they camped in windy and snowy conditions. The following morning Bill climbed the ridge to the top. He found bamboo wands on the summit - the peak appeared to have been climbed unofficially from the Shingo La side.

    On 6 June, Steve and Paul, with the assistance of Lakhpa Sherpa, set out to attempt an unclimbed peak of c. 5300 m on the east side of the valley. This valley lies north of Kuddu. Technical mixed climbing led to the summit which comprised two rock pinnacles. They named this summit Sgurr Kuddu. Sgurr means sharp-pointed peak in Gaelic, and Kuddu is the name of the area overlooked by the peak.

    On 31 May, Rob, Tom, Steve, and Paul attempted the east ridge of Peak 5970 m, a satellite peak northwest of Ramjak. Dangerous avalanche conditions were found 250 m below the summit. The team returned – continued poor weather made the planned second attempt impossible.


Kishtwar Himalaya

  1. White Sapphire, south ridge; Manasuna, west-southwest face 5 965 m; Lahara (5700 m), south face – ascents; Rohini Sikhar (5990 m) - attempt

    Team - Swiss

    Martin Luther and friends trekked for four days via the Dharlang nala to the entrance to the Chomochior valley, where they established base camp on a rock-strewn, grassy field at 3900 m. The Swiss team comprised Maz Chevallier (leader), Vincent Haller, Jonas Jurt, Christelle Marceau, Johan Martin, Axel Meyrat, Regis Meyrat, Martin Luther.

    They summited White Sapphire from a camp at 5200 m. Then they split into two teams, one to try unclimbed peak 6100 m and the other unclimbed Rohini Sikhar (5990 m). As the weather was uncertain, the second team changed their minds and went up the valley for another peak that promised a better chance of success than Rohini Sikhar.

    The first team established a camp on the moraine at 4300 m and then made a third camp below the last 60° slope leading to a broad shoulder below the west-southwest face of Peak 6100 m. This shoulder was reached quickly next day.

    The team climbed the snowy face, and then a snow/ice gully, to a final rocky section leading to the summit. The peak was named Manasuna (a corruption of monsoon) in memory of the mostly wet weather experienced during the ascent.

    Meanwhile the other team had gone much further up the Chomochior glacier, camping where a smaller glacier came in from the right. A short day then took them over more moraine slopes and through a serac band to a glacial plateau, below Peak c. 5700 m. On the 6th they climbed this summit, christened Lahara (wave). Before leaving the valley the team made an attempt on Rohini Sikhar but a big stone fall on the planned route put an end to this idea.

  2. Spear (Bhala), northeast face and ridge; Tupendo (Tupendeo), southwest pillar; Mardi Phabrang (Maha Dev Phobrang), east spur via Te - ascents

    Team - Swiss

    In September Swiss alpinists Dres Abegglen, Thomas Senf, and Stephan Siegrist returned to the Kishtwar Himalaya to attempt Spear, a Matterhorn-like peak that they had seen during their 2014 expedition. Details of this expedition are available elsewhere in this Volume.


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