American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India, Himachal Pradesh, Miyar Valley, Point JAMES, East Face; Nazomi Peak, Southeast Face; Triple Crown, Southwest Ridge from the West

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 2009

Point JAMES, east face; Nazomi Peak, southeast face; Triple Crown, southwest ridge from the west. Natasha Sebire and I spent five weeks in the Miyar during August and September. From the standard base camp below Castle Peak, we concentrated our efforts on the side valley of the Chhudong. We established a camp in the lower Chhudong and on August 26 made an ascent of Point JAMES. After ascending an obvious gully from the valley floor, we climbed the east face by an easy route (5.6, 110m). This peak had been climbed previously in 2002 by a Slovakian team, who estimated the height to be ca 5,500m. However, we recorded 4,965m on the summit using both GPS and an altimeter. [Editor’s note: Although JAMES looks like a personal name, it actually refers to the Slovak Mountaineering Federation and is always spelled in upper case.]

On the 28th we climbed a peak with no record of previous ascent, immediately northeast of JAMES. The rock was good quality gneiss. We started at the lowest point of the southeast face on easy ground for 500m, some of it unroped. At the headwall five full pitches followed cracks, slabs, flakes, and corners to the narrow summit ridge. By the time we reached the pointed summit block after a final short pitch along the crest, it was snowing. Our 800m route had difficulties up to 5.9; we named our summit Nazomi Peak (ca 5,300m). We then moved camp from the lower valley up onto the Chhudong Glacier, where we spied a prominent peak with three sweeping summits, north of Paola’s Peak (ca 5,460m) on the eastern side of the glacier. We called this peak Triple Crown. Several days of snowfall plastered the peaks and rock walls, but on September 11 we started up a 350m couloir on the west side of Triple Crown. Mixed ground at the top took us onto the northwest ridge of the southwest summit, which we climbed for 300m on mostly soft snow over ice, to gain the summit ridge just below the southwest summit. From this point we climbed northeast over the central summit to the northeast summit—the highest point of the mountain (ca 5,800m). We graded our 1,000m route AD (70°).

We also attempted Veneto, which is two summits to the south of Three Peaks Mountain and has one previous ascent [850m, 6b+ and 85°, Gianluca Beilin and Diego Stefani, 1999]. Days of snowfall had resulted in less than ideal conditions, so we ascended a gully to its south and skirted around a vertical orange wall looking for a feasible route. Finally, a snow gully led into a basin at ca 5,470m, rimmed with jagged peaks. Due to cold and lack of time and bivouac equipment, we descended, noting that the surrounding peaks would provide excellent objectives, some consisting of a solid orange rock, and likely all unclimbed.

Gemma Woldendorp, Australia.

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