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Cerro Kishtwar

Our party consisted of Mike Morrison, Mike O’Brien, Stephen Sustad and me as leader. After arriving in Delhi on August 23, we had difficulty in getting permission to visit this troubled area. We were eventually only allowed to approach via Manali, the Rohtang Pass and Udaipur. This added four days onto the approach and Base Camp was not established at 4000 meters on the north side of the Haptal Glacier until September 5. Bad weather caused further delays, so much so that Morrison and O’Brien had to leave on the 15th. Sustad and I left Base Camp for a summit assault on September 14. On the 16th, we started up the northwest face from the head of the Haptal Glacier at 5000 meters and ascended a prominent left-to-right-slanting ramp to a deep col on the north spur. From there we followed close to the right edge of the northeast face on the left of the north spur. We climbed to both of the twin summits (6200 meters, 20,342 feet) on September 19. Although we had a tent, we were unable to find any ledges large enough to pitch it. We slept on separate “ledges” with Sustad in a bivy sack and me wrapped in the tent. Powder snow on 70° slabs made for delicate climbing and vertical and overhanging sections gave technical Grade VI and A3 pitches. We bivouacked on the ramp at 5500 meters, on the col at 5800 meters and on the north spur at 6000 meters. A pick snapped off one ice axe just above the bergschrund and two other tools were damaged. The name is not official but has been called “Cerro Kishtwar” because of its resemblance to Cerro Torre in Patagonia.

Mick Fowler, Alpine Climbing Group