Asia, India, Miyar Nala, Miyar Valley, Neverseen Tower (5,700m), Mai Blau

Publication Year: 2005.

Miyar Valley, Neverseen Tower (5,700m), Mai Blau. Eloi Callado and I arrived there at the beginning of September, and after setting up our base camp (4,800m) at the glacier’s moraine we started carrying the stuff to the base of the wall (5,050m). To reach the base we had to cross the glacier and climb a 400-meter snow ramp (35°–40°). We put up a new route called Mai Blau (in Catalan that means Never Blue) on the west face. It was a natural line that combines cracksand slabs. The route name reflects the bad weather: the sky was never blue. Last summer the monsoon had been bad and the post-monsoon was not much better. The sky sometimes cleared in the morning, but it would cloud over and snow in the afternoon.

We climbed in “capsule style,” setting two camps on the wall (at the second and fifth belays). We spent 13 days living on the wall (12 bivis) to climb 13 pitches, some of them longer than 70 meters, graded A3+/6b/70° (890 meters climbed, not counting the snow ramp). On the summit day we climbed alpine style the last four pitches and the final Ca 150m snow ridge. But before the final attack on the summit, we rested two days on the portaledge because of the weather.

We rapped down the route (there are bolts only at belays) from summit to the second camp, and the next day continued to the base of the wall. After this journey a three-day non-stop snowfall started. We were stuck for the next two weeks at the base camp glacier without the possibility of walking down to the main valley. It was time to return home, but we couldn’t move, and conditions in base camp were harder than on the wall. We had 1.5 meters of new snow, and problems with cooking in the tent in base camp. We waited to leave until the weather changed. We were in a remote zone, and during five weeks in the valley, we didn’t see anybody. Just some sheepherders during the first trekking days. That’s all!

It’s difficult to find porters in the area, so we brought them from Manali (the most important town in the area). But to return to Manali we needed to cross a road pass (Rothang Pass, 4,800m) that is at the same altitude as base camp. We were afraid that the road could be closed because of the snowfall. But snowplows were working there, and with a 4-wheel-drive car we could have crossed it. The problem was that our driver decided to turn back before crossing it, so we finished our adventure hitchhiking on a truck.

Silvia Vidal, Spain