Asia, India, Zanskar, Lahaul, Ladakh, Various Ascents

Publication Year: 2010.

Zanskar, Lahaul, Ladakh, various ascents. In summer 2007 I made a number of ascents in the Indian Himalaya. I’d hoped to spend the winter of 2007–8 there, but lack of money and of motivation to remain in the mountains climbing alone drove me home. I returned the following summer to enjoy more ascents with friends and with clients while guiding. I believe most of the ascents described below are the first of the peak, though it seems unlikely that two of the peaks were not climbed previously.

I began in Lahaul, where on June 22, 2007, I made the probable first ascent of a 5,400m summit I named Tara Parbat. It lies in the Milang Valley, directly opposite (west of) M8 in the Mulkila group, and southwest of Darcha on the Manali-Leh road. I climbed up and down the central ridge on the east face in a round trip of 10 hours from base camp at 4,300m. The route gained 800m of elevation, with rock, ice, and mixed difficulties. There were sections of UIAA IV and 65° snow/ice, and an 80°cornice. The top of the mountain was just 100m northwest of my exit onto the summit ridge. I named the route Samsara y Nirvana (D). The day previously I had attempted the peak immediately north, which I also believe to be virgin, but had to give up in a couloir at 5,000m when a crumbling rock wall blocked the way.I moved on to Ladakh, and on July 12 Isidre Solé and I made a fine traverse of the Espolon de Shushot (3,600m), which lies one hour above the Leh-Shey road, just past Cho- glamsar (ca 10km from Leh). We took six hours in making the traverse from the south. The height gain is only 200m, but the length of the ridge is perhaps half a kilometer. There was much scrambling and eight roped pitches, up to UIAA V+ A1, and the granite was wonderful. The descent on the far side was short and easy, and it seems likely that this summit had been previously visited.

Isidre and I then climbed in the Stok Kangri region, where, among other peaks, we climbed Parcha Kangri (5,880m) by the northwest face and northeast ridge. It took four hours, on July 17. The 400m route was AD (55°), and we descended the north face directly, with two rappels. We assume this summit had been reached before, due to its proximity to Stok Kangri.

We moved north from Leh into the Nubra Valley and trekked up the Sakang Nala to the Saser Kangri Glacier, where we established a base camp. We made advanced base at 5,300m in the Dzomoriong Nala to the east. From there, on July 28, I climbed Lingmey Ri (5,700m), at the start of the ridge that separates the two branches of Dzomoriong Glacier. I climbed the west face solo on generally good rock, with strenuous sections in cracks. The climbing was mostly UIAA IV and V. I named the route Foc al Faro (D+ UIAA V+, 250m).

On the 29th and 30th Isidre and I climbed Dawa Mebar Kangri (6,250m, N 34°45', W 77°48') at the head of the Dzomoriong Glacier. It took three-and-a-half hours to reach the foot of the southwest face, five hours to climb it via a route we named Ahimsa (D-, 70°, 400m), and 13 hours to descend and return to base camp.

In September 2007 I soloed Tantak O la Vida Simple (PD+ 55°, 300m), the north face and east ridge of Sultanlango (5,793m), southwest of the Tongde La in Zanskar. I descended the east ridge (PD). This took place during a week’s self-supported, ca 100km, solo traverse from Tongde to Reru, which required carrying a huge sack.

In 2008 I was back in Lahul. A peak I have named Chu Kan- gri (5,700m) stands on the opposite side of the Shingu Nala from Ram- jak (6,290m), south of the Shingu La. Albert Ortega and I made base camp at Chumik Nakpo (4,630m) and walked three-and-a-half hours up the Khakurkur Nala to the east to reach an advanced base at 5,025m, below the north side Chu Kangri. On July 13 Albert and I climbed the north face and east ridge (PD+ 50°, 650m). It took four-and-a-half hours for the ascent and two hours to descend. We named the route Gyaldop.

During August 2008 I was in Zanskar. On the 16th, on our second attempt, Lluc Pellisa and I climbed Shawa Kangri (5,600m), which lies in the valley that runs south from Tungri on the Padam road, immediately west of Haftal Valley and Sani Gompa. We climbed snow/ice slopes, up to 65°, on the northwest face to reach a col at the base of the northeast face—a sound granite wall. We climbed this in five pitches, up to UIAA V+. We descended the route by rappel, naming it Rolling Stones (D+).

Namay Skayrak Kangri (5,700m) lies south of the Malung Tokpo Valley, connecting Ating to the Umasi La. Laia Acero, Lluc, and I established base camp at 4,000m in the valley, two hours walk past Dzongkul Gompa. We then headed south into the Gaora Lungpa, making an advanced base at 4,700m. From there, on August 30, we climbed Namay Skayrak Kangri by the northeast face and north ridge. It was a classic ice slope, 16 pitches from bergschrund to crest. We named the route Escher Revisited (D 60°, a step of UIAA II just before summit, 700m). We descended the north ridge for a considerable distance, before rappelling to the bottom of the face.

Finally, from September 2 to 4, we three climbed the First Aguja del Tzempuk (4,700m). This lies northeast of Namay Skayrak Kangri, directly opposite our base camp. We climbed the 600m northwest face with two bivouacs (22 hours effective climbing time), completing 19 pitches on good granite up to 6b A1. The climbing, in a series of cracks and corners, was excellent. We called the route Le Ciudad Invisible (TD/TD+). We descended the northeast flank easily in two hours to base camp.

Sergi Ricart, Spain