American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India, Kashmir and Jammu, Kishtwar Himal, P 20,970, Kiar Nalla

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1978

P 20,970, Kiar Nalla, Kishtwar Himal. Our expedition made the first ascent of P 20,970, previously unclimbed and unnamed, during September and October. The mountain is the highest of several unclimbed peaks on the north side of the Kiar Nalla. We met with many frustrations in the early part of the expedition, such as a six-day wait before porters became available in one village and finding it necessary to construct a Tyrolean traverse across a raging torrent between Base Camp and Advanced Base. The summit was reached on October 7 by Roy May, solo, after his companions on the summit bid, Roger Thurrow and Peter Macdonald turned back because of a harrowing slab avalanche close to the top. Meanwhile six other members were attempting Sickle Moon (21,570 feet), only once previously ascended by a 26-man Indian Army expedition. We chose a new route on the northwest (Sarbal Glacier) face. The final summit push was made between October 8 and 10 by Martin Bennett, Bill Hodgson, Robin Andrews and me, supported by Arthur Grout and Peter Thompson. Rock difficulties of severe standard and ice pitches up to Scottish grade IV meant slow progress. On the third day we reached 19,000 feet where the rock-and-ice rib abuts the west ridge. Although we were above the major difficulties, with a lot of ground to cover, worsening weather and little food and fuel, a retreat was inevitable.

Stuart Hepburn, Carlisle Mountaineering Club, England

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