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Asia, India—Kashmir and Ladakh, Barnaj II, Padar, Kishtwar

Barnaj II, Padar, Kishtwar. Our expedition comprised Jim Curran, Tony Riley, Bob Toogood, John Yates, liaison officer Hanuman Suthar and me. Toogood fell ill and had to return home from Massu. Late processing of our application in Delhi held us up for 12 days and reduced time on the mountain. We established Base Camp below the glacier snout in the Barnaj Nalla on August 29 at 13,500 feet. Seven mules carried the equipment from Galhar to Barnaj in 4½ days. Nevertheless porters had to be used to evacuate this camp because of snow on September 21. We climbed in two parties. Yates and I explored the west face from a camp at 15,800 feet but decided it was prone to falling ice and rock and too ambitious in uncertain weather. We took to the south ridge of the south peak of Barnaj II and climbed it with two bivouacs on September 9 to 11. It snowed on each day and the weather deteriorated sharply after we had reached the south summit and had set off along the ridge towards the unclimbed central peak after midday on September 11. Bad weather drove us back; we bivouacked on the descent. Thus we repeated alpine-style the route done by the Japanese in 1976 to the south summit and probably retreated from the same area of the ridge to the central summit as they did. Curran and Riley were thwarted in a subsequent attempt by persistent bad weather. From our two visits to this area in September (1977 and 1979), it appears that there is usually much snowfall in September with sufficiently low temperatures to leave snow as low as 14,000 feet. This increases difficulties and avalanche dangers not to be met in the June to August period.

Paul Nunn, Alpine Climbing Group