East Karakoram, Argan Kangri (6,789 m), first or second ascent? The Indian Mountaineering Foundation sponsored an all ladies expedition to Argan Kangri in the Arganglas range east of the Nubra Valley. It was led by IMF Vice-President Rita Gombu Marwah. The nine-member team, accompanied by four high-altitude Sherpas, successfully climbed the peak on July 20. Four ladies and four Sherpas reached the summit; Kavita Burathoki, Reena Kaushik, R M. Tamang, and Shushma Thakur, with Sherpas Dawa, Pasang Dorjee, Samgyal, and Sangepuri. The team operated from July 1-31.
This peak was attempted by the Indo-British expedition, jointly led by Sir Chris Bonington and Harish Kapadia, in the summer of 2001. They failed to climb what they thought to be an unclimbed mountain and the highest in the range. After their expedition Josef Hala, a noted researcher of mountain history from Prague, Czech Republic, drew attention to a previous report about this area dating back to 1970. In that year a peak in this region was reported to have been climbed by the Indian Army. That peak is located at a similar latitude and longitude, has the same height and lies on the same glacier. The Indians called it Phunangma after the name of the glacier at its foot. However, currently it is not conclusively known whether both peaks are one and the same. Please refer to the following note printed in the Himalayan Journal. From a letter by Mr Josef Hala in the Himalayan Journal Vol. 58, p 254: Argan Kangri climb 1970; The Himalayan Club Newsletter No. 28, June 1971 (Page 2), compiled by Soli S. Mehta. LADAKH: PHUNANGMA 22,272 ft. First Ascent. This peak in Ladakh was climbed on 4 August 1970 by Capt. F. C. Bahaduri, Nk. S. K. Thapa, Nk. S. Tashi, Hav. S. S. Bhandari and two Sherpas. Capt. N. K. Kalia, Nk. P. Stobdon and a porter again climbed the peak on 5 August 1970. Maj. R. C. Naidu led the expedition. There is also a mention in Ichiro Yoshizawa (670 pages) Concise Alphabetical Register of World Mountains, published in Tokyo, 1984. PHUNANGMA 6,788m (34° 35' N: 77° 50' E). (Argan Kangri is 6,789m, with similar co-ordinates as the above peak. It must be noted that there are several peaks in the area within these same co-ordinates but not of a similar height. HK).
Harish Kapadia, Honorary Editor, The Himalayan Journal