American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India, Himachal Pradesh, Miyar Valley, Trento Peak; Om Shanti; Col 5,630m; Bruno Detassis Peak; Fiamme Gialle Peak

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

Trento Peak; Om Shanti; Col 5,630m; Bruno Detassis Peak; Fiamme Gialle Peak. In September I led an expedition that included a doctor and eight mountaineers employed in the Italian Guardia di Finanza Mountain Rescue. We explored little-known areas between the Miyar Glacier and the Zanskar Range, making five first ascents in alpine style. We reached the standard Miyar base camp at Dali Got (3,960m, N 33°01'57.08", E 76°48'36.44") on September 3, and began moving equipment up the Jangpar, Chhudong, and Takdung glaciers.

On the 9th Giampaolo Corona, Christian Gobbi, and Mirko Groff made a one-day first ascent of a previously unnamed peak close to the head of the Takdung Glacier, east of the famous Neverseen Tower. After a complex approach through crevasses and seracs, they climbed the prominent southeast couloir, which was 800m long and featured deep snow up to 55°. At the top they emerged onto the knife-edge west (northwest) ridge at 5,800m and continued up it until they could move onto the steep north face of the summit spire. Here, they encountered mixed terrain up to 80° and slabby rock plastered with ice (UIAA V). Just below the top Gobbi was caught in a windslab avalanche, but with no serious consequences. The three reached the top at 3:30 p.m. and descended the same route. The 1,000m TD+ climb took 16 hours roundtrip from the glacier. They named this elegant summit Trento Peak (6,046m, N 33°04’15.29", E 76°

54'42.95"; nearly all measurements in this report were by both GPS and Thuraya).

On the 11th, Corona and Groff climbed another previously virgin peak that they named Om Shanti (5,770m, N 33°04'42.45", E 76°54'21.66") meaning “mountain of peace” in Hindi. This lies a little west of Trento Peak (but is separated from it by a fine, unclimbed rocky summit of perhaps 5,900m). The ascent was made by the south couloir to southeast face. The 50° couloir was snow and ice, but the face proved more demanding, with icy couloirs alternating with slabby granite (80°, UIAA V). They graded the 750m route TD+.

We believe this area to be previously unvisited, and that we were likely the first people to see the eastern faces of the better- known peaks of the Chhudong, such as Neverseen Tower, Geruda, and Lotos.

The middle section of the true left (southeastern) bank of the Takdung holds four great snow and ice peaks of 5,900m-6,000m. They were photographed from the Miyar Valley in 2002 by the Slovakian expedition and given names according to their similarity with famous peaks: Ogre III, Ogre II,

Ogre I, and Mont Blanc. Ogre II, in particular, is a fine double-summit - ed mountain with an imposing northwest face. On the 16th Corona, Gobbi, and Groff made the first ascent of the northwest couloir of the 5,630m col (N 33°02'29.06", E 76°54'18.90") between the north and south summits.

The route, named Ice on the Rocks, is more than 1,200m long and in the lower part consists of two 85°icefalls and some technical 70°gullies. It continues with a dangerous hanging snowfield followed by mixed terrain (85°, UIAA V+). After reaching the col at 5:30 p.m. the three climbers started up the northwest ridge of Ogre II’s south peak but gave up due to the late hour and the threat caused by windslab and unstable snow. They reversed the ascent route and were back in camp at 11 p.m. after a grueling 18-hour day. Daniele De Candido, Attilio Munari, and Riccardo Scarian operated in the upper Chhudong. On September 12 they reached the previously virgin southwest summit of Triple Crown, a three-summited mountain, the highest point of which had been climbed the day previously by Australians Natasha Sebire and Gemma Woldendorp [see below]. Looking from the upper Chhudong, Triple Crown is the fourth peak to the left (north) of Neverseen Tower. We named our new summit Bruno Detassis Peak (5,760m, N 33°05'12.95", E 76°53'08.10") after the Italian mountaineer who died earlier in the year. The three reached the top via a route dubbed Fiamme Gialle on the southwest pillar, which rose above their advanced base on the Chhudong and gave 850m (14 pitches) of cracks and slabs on excellent granite. They climbed the line on-sight over two days, using removable protection except at belays, which they bolted. Maximum difficulties were 6c+.

On the 14th, after an odyssey, the last of our teams, Cristian Brenna and Massimo Da Pozzo, summited the previously unnamed Fiamme Gialle Peak (5,577m, N 33°05'30.30", E 76°50'24.05") in the remote Jangpar area. On the 5th, in a 12-hour round trip from base camp, they reached the Jangpar Glacier and left their haul bags under a conspicuous boulder in the middle of an oceanic moraine. When they returned a few days later, hoping to collect the bags and move to the upper Jangpar, they found that an enormous rockslide had buried their gear. After a cold night without equipment on the Jangpar moraine, they returned to base camp, picked up replacement gear and with a 35kg haul bag each, returned to camp close to the séracs of the eastern branch of the Jangpur, 7km of bouldery terrain up from its junction with the Miyar. Then in one day, starting at 4 a.m., they climbed Fiamme Gialle via its south-southeast face, which sits opposite the impressive north face of Three Peaks Mountain/Mahindra. They reached the summit after 14 roped pitches and 950m of climbing up to UIAA VI. A few bolts were placed at belays. They descended through the night, sitting out a snowstorm, and were back in the tent by 7 a.m. on the 15th. After the 16th bad weather prevented further climbing; during one night 40cm of snow fell at base camp and wrecked the tents at a high camp in the Chhudong. We eventually gave up and returned to Manali.

This activity might not have been possible without the help of our clever liaison officer Mr. Kaushal Desai and his Manali agency

Bruno Moretti, Italy

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