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Asia, Tibet, Targo Ri, First Ascent

Targo Ri, First Ascent. In October, Richard Cowper, Julian Freeman-Attwood and I made the first ascent of Targo Ri (ca. 6550m). The peak is situated between Shuru Tso (lake) and Dangra Tso, in the Chang Tang, part of the Gandisi (Trans-Himalaya) Range. Targo Ri is the highest of three summits in the area.

Stretching away north to Dangra Tso, the range continues with more shapely peaks, including aiguilles and the odd 500- to 600-meter big wall. We traveled for about 180 miles in a truck north from the main Lhasa-Kailash road. We spent a week wandering around to the north of our peak, including a walk up to the Sezhik Bon Monastery.

We set up Base Camp (4930m) to the south of our peak on October 3. With the help of local “yakmen,” we established ABC (5280m) and High Camp (5760m). The locals left us there, and the next day, October 8, we continued up the south ridge and final snowdome to within ten feet of the summit (another mountain of religious significance). The climbing was easy (D)—especially for Richard and myself, as Julian broke most of the trail!

For our trip, we had downloaded and enlarged a photo from the NASA website. On it, we could see our “blob of snow,” but the interesting thing was that there were scores of similar blobs of snow visible, hardly any of which have been visited by climbers (or any westerner, for that matter).

We checked with the local yak herders and they confirmed that no one had climbed in the Targo Ri area before. There is much to do here. We had 15 days of cloudless skies. The views of wide-open valleys, cobalt blue lakes and so many other mountains vibrant against the blue skies are still etched in our memories.

Doug Scott, Alpine Club