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Asia, India, Kulu Pumori, Punjab

Kulu Pumori, Punjab. Gwynn Stephenson and Harold Mellor of J.P.O.’F. Lynam’s Bari Shigri expedition of 1961 attempted this lovely 21,500-foot peak. They reached 19,000 feet on the formidable northwest ridge but were forced by illness to retire. The first ascent of this mountain, now named Kulu Pumori, was made on June 6 by a party consisting of Dr. Franz Mohling, A.A.C., myself and the Ladakhis Wangyal and Ang Chook of Manali. Twelve valley porters helped us to cross the Rohtang La and to ascend the Chandra for 25 miles and left us on May 17 near the snout of the Bara Shigri Glacier in the valley of the Chandra River of Lahul. Thereafter, the work of ferrying stores and equipment was borne equally between the four climbers. Despite prolonged bad weather, Base Camp at Concordia, the junction of several glaciers, was finally established on May 28 with food supplies for 21 days. Two days were spent in re- connaissance after which the northwest ridge and the eastern approaches were both ruled out. We decided to seek a route on the southwest ridge, the foot of which seemed accessible from a small névé draining the south face. Accordingly, Advanced Base Camp was sited on the main southern tributary of the Bara Shigri, near the junction of the névé icefall which descended from the south face of the mountain and beneath the impressive rock spire of Lal Qila (Red Fort) (20,830 feet). We set camps on the crest of the southwest ridge at 19,000 and 20,000 feet. From the latter, at six a.m. on June 6 Wangyal and I left for the summit. We made a diversion onto the steep snowfield of the south face to avoid a rock step a few hundred feet above Camp II and regained the ridge just short of the summit. We reached this, a perfect snow cone, at nine a.m. after climbing the rest of the spectacular, corniced snow ridge. Three days later, Mohling and Ang Chook repeated the ascent.

Robert Pettigrew, Alpine Club