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Asia, India Punjab, Tos-Tichu Himal

Tos-Tichu Himal. Ernest Peterson and I spent three weeks of July in the Punjab Himalaya. From Kulu valley, about 350 miles north of New Delhi, we first drove and then hiked 30 miles eastward, up the valley of the Parbati River to the last village, Pulga. From there it took a week to pack into a high valley to the northeast, Tichu Nullah, as the last portion of the route involved rock-climbing too steep for local porters. From Base Camp in the nullah at 12,000 feet, we spent a few days exploring this virtually unknown country. The lower part of Tichu Nullah had previously been visited by a mountaineering party for only a single day as it descended from a nearby valley. The lower portion is beautiful meadows abounding with wild flowers, while the upper portion is heavily glaciated. Rising from Tichu Nullah are at least a dozen rock and snow peaks of from 18,000 to 20,000 feet, all unclimbed and unattempted. We first chose one of the lower peaks and climbed it from Base Camp in a day. It was 18,500 feet and presented few technical difficulties except for some stretches of very steep snow below the summit ridge. We named it Tos-Tichu Himal, as it was the westernmost peak on the high dividing ridge between the Tichu and Tos Nullahs. There are at least three points on the ridge higher than the one we climbed. We then turned to the peak on the southern side of the lower Tichu Nullah, another 18,500-footer. We made two all-out attempts here, the second one just touching the underside of the summit cornice. After a brief debate, as the warm sun began to push snow slides off on both sides of us, we hurried out of danger.

Felix K. Knauth