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Asia, India, Himalaya, Ladakh, Kula, West Ridge, Second Ascent/Possible Variant

Kula, west ridge, second ascent/possible variant. On June 29 Gaurav, JS Gulia, and Amardeep, with two HAPs, Fateh Chand and Pyare Lal, reached the 6,546m summit of Kula in the Rupshu region. Kula is the name assigned this peak on the most recent Survey of India map, though the IMF refers to it by its former name of Chalung. The team from Sainik School Kunjpura, led by Gulia, approached via the village of Sumdo and the Ribil Phu Valley. They established base camp at 5,200m and a higher camp at 5,900m. From there they followed the west ridge to the top to make the second ascent of the peak.

Kula was first climbed in 1997 by Tsuneo Suzuki’s Japanese team, which also approached via the Ribil Phu to the small glacier north of the mountain. The Japanese first climbed the glacier toward the summit, but as it seemed avalanche prone, they headed for the west ridge. They reached the crest and followed brittle rock (fixing a short amount of rope) to reach a final ice slope, which eased in angle to the summit. It took six hours from Camp 2 at 5,800m to the top. The Indians may have followed this route or made a minor variant by climbing the ridge more directly.

Harish Kapadia, Honorary Editor, The Himalayan Journal