Saser Kangri I and IV, 1988. The 144 kilometers from Leh to Panamik were covered by Army trucks via the highest road in the world; this crosses the Khardung La at 18,380 feet. Base Camp at 15,500 feet was set up on July 19, 1988 after a two-day trek from Panamik up the Pukpoche Lungpa. Camp I was established on July 26 at 17,800 feet on the Pukpoche Glacier, a kilometer short of the bifurcation of the North and South Pukpoche Glaciers. Camp II was placed at 20,300 feet above the South Pukpoche Glacier on July 28. Camp III was above a steep ice patch, followed by a sharp snow ridge and rock shoulder. The complete route from Camp II to III required 2500 feet of fixed rope. Camp III, established on August 6 at 22,600 feet, was the summit camp. For Saser Kangri IV (7420 meters, 24,330 feet) it was a three-hour climb to the top. For Saser Kangri I it would have been advisable to have a bivouac camp in the col, though we climbed it from Camp III, based on the previous year’s report. It took us a little more than twelve hours to reach the summit (7672 meters, 25,170 feet), but unlike last year’s expedition, we fixed 2000 feet of rope simultaneously from the col to west summit. From there to the main summit is less than an hour’s descent to the col and the final ascent of 400 feet to the peak. On August 24, 1988, two summit parties left at the same time for the two different peaks. K.R. Lavaraju, Sange (senior), Pasang and I climbed Saser Kangri I. Kripa Narayan, S. Srivatsa and Sange (junior) climbed Saser Kangri IV. The other members of the team were Mahendra Sharma, S. Bhattacharjee, B.K. Gupta, J.P. Singh, Surinder Chauhan, Sandeep Goswami, Prajapati Bodhane, Tapesh Bansal, Miss Nandini Lohia and Miss Yangdu Gombu. For the first time, Indian women participated in an expedition to the Karakoram.
Heera Lohia, Climbers and Explorers Club, India