Asia, India, Zanskar, Haftal Kangri (6,178m), Northwest Face
Haftal Kangri (6,178m), northwest face. On August 4 Simon Deniel, Pauline Parmier, Elsa Pommarel, and I made a probable first ascent of a peak referred to by locals as Haftal Kangri. This peak is located above the east side of the Haftal Valley, which rises southwest toward the Kishtwar Himalaya a little east of Sani Gompa, shortly before reaching Padam on the road from Pensi La. It is invisible from Padam, and we weren’t able to find any information about our proposed route from the west. People from Sani told us that one expedition had tried to reach the mountain before but had problems with horse transport and were unable to establish base camp. We trekked up the right side of the valley and placed base camp at 3,796m (GPS). However, the only way we could cross the river to the east was to retrace our steps 300m and make a Tyrolean traverse. For this we placed two bolts in a large rock beside the river.
Once on the other side of the river, we ascended a side valley and made an advanced base at 4,329m. From there we scrambled up a stony couloir, crossed to the right above a waterfall and made Camp 1 at 5,131m, below the northwest face of our peak. The route above climbed snow slopes right of a rock rib (45-55°), then crossed it to similar slopes on the left, finally joining the rib to reach the summit ridge. Snow and mixed slopes led to the top. We named the route Yackattack (1,000m, D+ F3 WI3+ 55°). We then descended the north ridge, rappeled to snow slopes that we climbed down to a small col, and headed west down a couloir until we could traverse back to Camp 1. Around our base camp were many fine-looking but relatively compact rock walls. We were told that many years ago a Japanese alpinist climbed a big wall route somewhere close by.
Jonathan Crison, France