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Asia, India—Kashmir, Brammah Attempt, Kishtwar Himal

Brammah Attempt, Kishtwar Himal. The aim of our expedition was to make the first ascent of Brammah (P 6416, 21,050 feet)* between the Kibar and Nanth Nallahs of the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. The trip followed our two expeditions of 1965 and 1969. (A.A.J., 1966, 15:1, p. 196 and A.A.J., 1971, 17:2, pp. 448-9; also photo.) H.N. Edmundson, D.R.T. Gundry, Dr. Sara Endean, Major A.P.S. Chauhan (liaison officer), my wife Ruth and I left New Delhi by bus for Kishtwar on May 4. From experience on our two previous visits we chose to attempt Brammah by its southeast ridge; this begins from a col in the snow basin above the Kibar icefall. We established Base Camp at 11,800 feet on May 11 at the head of the Kibar Nallah and climbed through the icefall at its northern edge to reach the col, though hampered by fresh snowfall, unusual for the time of year. On May 18 we set up Camp I at 17,400 feet at the base of the southeast ridge and began to reconnoitre the initial snow-covered section which rose in a series of small snow domes, sometimes steep and heavily corniced, to the north. Poor conditions and fresh snowfall again made progress slow but six days later we had Camp II well stocked. A long steep rock ridge runs upward from Camp II to the summit snow slope and on this section lie the principal difficulties. For four days we prepared the rock, fixing 600 feet of rope over difficult gendarmes, but we were unable to pass the last and highest pinnacle. On May 29 Edmundson and Gundry left Camp II for the summit attempt and after a bivouac below the final gendarme at about 20,000 feet, traversed its northern flank to gain the summit snow slope. Despite no great technical difficulties, deep loose snow lay on ice, and avalanches threatened to sweep down the south face. They turned back at four P.M. about 350 feet from the summit. After a second bivouac they rejoined me in Camp II. Almost immediately the ridge was struck by lightning and we were lucky to escape. We descended the following day to Base Camp. We felt that instead of gaining the last 350 feet on this difficult peak we would prefer to explore the highest peak in the area: P 6574 (“The Sickle Moon”). Major Chauhan, Edmundson and Gundry set off for the Kiar Nallah on June 8. The rest of us returned to Dacchan with the baggage.

CHARLES R.A. CLARKE, M.D.,Alpine Club

*The peak marked “Brammah” (6108 meters or 20,040 feet) in the Kibar Nallah on Sheet No. 52 c/3 does not correspond to the mountain local people have long revered and call Brammah, which is P 6416 and the one which we were climbing.