American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India–Kumaon and Garhwal, Thalay Sagar, North Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

Thalay Sagar, North Face. Berecz Gábor, Dékàny Peter, Kiszely György, Szikdzai Attila and I placed Base Camp near Kedar Tal at 4740 meters on August 24. Due to constant cloudy and rainy weather, we were not too active for the first two weeks. On August 30, we established Camp I at the bottom of the north face at 5600 meters. We then climbed unroped the 55° couloir leading to the Bhrigupanth-Thalay Sagar col, from which we originally had planned to climb the 1983 Polish-Norwegian route on the northeast ridge. On September 6, we set up Camp II on the col at 6000 meters. We spent two wet nights here in a crevasse and a snow cave. However, the tempting unclimbed north face seemed to be in suitable condition. Therefore, at dawn on the 12th, Dékàny and I set out from Camp I and climbed to 6200 meters on the north face. Afternoon and night snowfall caused a terribly uncomfortable bivouac. The next day, we ascended the objectively dangerous funnel below the vertical ice-chimneys. Ice-covered slabs and poor protection slowed progress. After a few pitches on varying ice, we bivouacked at 6400 meters. On the third day, we climbed a section of loose rock covered by thick, soft snow and spent the night on a tiny ledge on the steep face of the upper ice cirque at 6600 meters. From there, on the 15th, we climbed two pitches to the loose, rotten shale-and-limestone part of the summit cone, where fog and wet snowfall forced us to halt that day and the next. On the 16th, a traverse led to the right toward the northwest ridge. This 60 meters was the worst part of the route due to loose shale and soft snow. Continuing on the ridge, we joined the 1979 Anglo-American route at 6700 meters. Following this, we reached the summit (6904 meters, 22,650 feet) at one P.M. on September 17. Frequent snow avalanches caused difficulties on the upper part. The ice varied from 60° to 85°. This was the first ascent of the north face and the third line on the mountain. Descending the northwest couloir, we arrived at Kedar Tal the next evening. Meanwhile, the other three had set out for the northeast ridge on the 14th, but they abandoned the climb because of snowfall.

Ozsvàth Attila, Excelsior Mountain Club, Budapest, Hungary

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