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Asia, India—Himachal Pradesh, Phabrang, P 5920 and Other Peaks, Lahoul

Phabrang, P 5920 and Other Peaks, Lahoul. We were six climbers: Chris Blatter, leader, Charles Bates, Rachael Cox, Joshua Lieberman and me from the United States and Martin Mazurek from Switzerland. Our excellent liaison officer, Surrinder K. Sharma, joined us in Delhi. Our goal was to climb Phabrang and to explore the upper Miyar valley. We spent five days traveling with horses from Udaipur to Base Camp at Zardong at 4000 meters in the upper Miyar valley. On July 24, while I was ascending the moraine-covered terminus of the Miyar Glacier, a large rock rolled onto my leg, breaking my ankle. Luckily, I was able to descend to Base Camp on foot. On July 29, Lieberman and Mazurek made the ascent of a prominent peak (altimeter reading 5990 meters, 19,653 feet) at the head of the Miyar Glacier northwest of the Kang La. They climbed steep, loose snow and one fifth-class pitch. Rappel anchors near the summit indicated that there had been a prior ascent. From July 26 to 28, Bates, Blatter and Cox made an attempt on P 5760, a striking rock peak northeast of the Miyar Glacier terminus. They ascended to 5330 meters in a couloir east of the southwest ridge before retreating in heavy rain and snow. From August 11 to 14, Cox and I made another attempt on which we got to 5650 meters before retreating in bad weather. On August 3, Bates and Blatter left Base Camp to try the south ridge-southeast face route on Phabrang. In consistently poor weather, they got to Phabrang Base Camp the next day. They placed Camps I and II at 5300 and 5800 meters on August 6 and 7. They reached the summit of Phabrang (6172 meters, 20,250) at midday on the 8th and returned to our Zardong Base on the 11th. From August 16 to 18, Bates, Blatter, Cox and I made the first ascent of a prominent mountain halfway up the first valley above Zardong on the north side of the Miyar River. The peak (altimeter reading 5920 meters, 19,423 feet) on the north side of the glacier has a steep, triangular south face of gneiss. The face is cut by two prominent snow couloirs which intersect 300 meters below the west ridge, forming a symmetrical X. The summit itself is atop a steep, 150-meter pinnacle. On August 17, we ascended the lower righthand couloir to the intersection. The following day we climbed the upper righthand couloir to the west ridge, which we followed to the summit.

Peter B. Kelemen