American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India—Sikkim, Pathibara (Pyramid) and Pathibara East (Sphynx)

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

Pathibara (Pyramid) and Pathibara East (Sphynx). Our joint Indo-Japanese expedition climbed these two peaks for the first time from the Sikkimese side on the northeast. They lie some 12 kilometers north of Kangchenjunga. Swiss led by E. Wyss-Dunant had attempted them from the Nepalese side in 1949 and reached the northeast summit of Pathibara, but they were unable to reach the main summit. I led five climbers of the Himalayan Association of Japan and Harbhajan Singh led eleven members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Although Base Camp was first established at Green Lake on the Zemu Glacier on March 17, heavy snows prevented all supplies from reaching there until April 13. Advance Base was placed at 5450 meters on the Tent Peak Glacier on April 7 after climbing an ice wall and fixing 250 meters of rope. We crossed the pass to the Changsang Glacier, fixing some rope, and placed Camp I there at 5600 meters on April 11. We climbed a tributary spur that descends to the southeast from Pathibara East and reached the crest of the summit ridge on April 17. On April 19, Camp II was placed just four pitches below the summit of Pathibara East (Sphynx; 6824 meters, 22,388 feet). We made the first ascent of this peak on April 20 and continued on along the northeast ridge of Pathibara. On April 22, we extended the fixed line to the col between the northeast top and the main summit. On April 24, Japanese Hiroshi Iwazaki, Nobuhiro Shingo and I and Indians Jot Singh Bhundari, Sunder Singh Martolia, Lopsang Sherpa and Purba Lepcha climbed to the summit of Pathibara (Pyramid; 7123 meters, 23,369 feet), followed on April 26 by Japanese Masanori Suzuki, Kazuaki Hirata and Indian Hira Ram. The route from Camp II was a mixture of steep ice slopes and a traverse along a knife edge that demanded technical skill. We climbed along the Changsang Glacier side of the knife-edged summit ridge. The seven pitches from the northeast peak to the top were the crux of the climb. Also on the 26th, Harbhajan Singh, A.S. Rawat, Chhodda Tshering, Durban Singh and Perna Kumar Gurang followed the first three but due to a sudden change of weather, they could not continue to the main peak. They climbed the northeast peak (c. 7000 meters, 22,966 feet). A photograph and a map appear in Iwa To Yuki of August 1993.

Yoshio Ogata, Himalayan Association of Japan

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