Asia, India—Jammu and Kashmir, Kishtwar Shivling

Publication Year: 1984.

Kishtwar Shivling. Dick Renshaw and I made the first ascent of Kishtwar Shivling (c. 6000 meters, 19,685 feet). This beautiful and difficult mountain is in the Padar region in the eastern part of the Kishtwar range, lying on the ridge between the Darlang Nalla and the valley leading to the Umasi La. We left Kishtwar on August 15 and reached Machail four days later. On the fifth day we continued past the last village, Sumcham, to a comfortable Base Camp at the foot of the north face of our peak. The monsoon had started to clear at the end of August and on September 6 we left Advance Base (14,100 feet). We had already made one foray onto the north face, leaving a cache of climbing equipment. Now we climbed in a single, five-day push to the summit. The descent, involving 25 abseils and down-climbing, took a further two days. It was a superb face climb of very difficult, varied climbing: snow aretes, a vertical sérac barrier, difficult mixed climbing, granite pitches and a very steep fluted summit icefield, reminiscent of the Andes. The weather was excellent, apart from the summit day, when a snowstorm made climbing unpleasant and views nonexistent. Like its Garhwal namesake, this Shivling has no obvious easy routes. The same is true for most of the Kishtwar peaks. There is an enormous scope for demanding technical climbing at comparatively low altitude.

Stephen Venables, Alpine Climbing Group