American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Northeast and West Sikkim, Various Attempts and Ascents

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

Northeast and West Sikkim, various attempts and ascents. During October and November Claire Humphris (U.K.), Simon Humphris (U.K.), Monica Kalozdi (U.S.), Tom Midttun (Norway), Jean Pavillard (Switzerland), Fabian Pavillard (Switzerland), Owen Samuel (U.K.), and I visited Sikkim. Our team first traveled to the northeast of the state, where Midttun and Samuel attempted the first ascent of the east ridge/buttress of Brumkhangshe (5,635m), reaching 5,050m before being stopped by bad weather and deep fresh snow. The rest of the team attempted the northwest ridge of the same peak [Editor’s note: This ridge was climbed in 2007 by Payne with Julie-Ann Clyma to make the only recorded ascent of the peak], but were stopped by the same bad weather and associated avalanche conditions. However, on October 30 Humphris, Humphris, Midttun, Samuel, and I reached the summit of Brumkhangshe North (ca 5,450m) making perhaps the third or fourth ascent. Next day Humphris, Humphris, and I made the first ascent of a rocky peak above our glacier camp, calling it Ta (Horse) Peak (ca 5,300m, UIAA II). On November 2, while exploring the west branch of the Rula Kang Glacier, Midttun and Samuel made the first ascent of a ca 5,000m rocky summit they called Changma (Bride) Peak (UIAA II). On the 3rd Humphris, Humphris, Midttun, Samuel, and I made the first ascent of a ca 5,400m summit we called Marpo (Red) Peak (UIAA II+).

After leaving this area Samuel and I traveled to West Sikkim, where we attempted the excellent-looking southeast ridge of Rathong (6,679m). We set off on November 12 from a 5,100m advanced camp on moraines above the Rathong Glacier, just below the ridge. We made two bivouacs, at 5,800m and 6,300m. The terrain was mixed, with difficulties up to UIAA IV/V rock and II/III snow and ice. In the higher part the climbing was sometimes delicate and insecure in an exposed position (i.e., easy but deep, poorly consolidated snow on the crest). In strong winds we were forced to stop on the 14th at 6,300m, after a bivouac in an exposed position. Eighteen rappels and down-climbing were needed to descend from the high point. A map in AAJ 2008 shows the location of some of these peaks.

Roger Payne, Switzerland

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.