Asia, India, Zanskar, Reru Valley, Exploration

Publication Year: 2010.

Reru Valley, exploration. In August four senior Japanese mountaineers, Kiyoaki Miyagawa (68), Mitsuhiko Okabe (68), Akira Taniguchi (71), and I, (69), explored the Reru Valley. Well-

known Indian mountaineering authorities, Satyabrata Dam and Harish Kapadia, did not know of any previous climbing in this valley, so we traveled to Padam and made the short trek to the area to identify virgin peaks for future expeditions.

On the 16th we camped at Bardan Gompa School and saw an attractive rock peak of 6,071m, west of the entrance to the Reru Nala. Realizing that there are many mountains in the vicinity, we named them numerically, starting with Reru 1 (6,071m, R1) and continuing counterclockwise to R36 (5,825m) at the western end of the group. The accompanying map identifies these peaks. Next day by 1 p.m. we reached the village of Reru at the entrance to the valley, a beautiful campsite but noisy with trekkers. Our guide Tsewang and our horseman talked with the headman in Reru, who told them that the village had controlled Reru Valley for many years, that only villagers used it, and that no climber or trekker had ever entered it. To be granted access, Tsewang agreed to pay 100 rupees per tent per day. The headman told us that the left branch of the valley has an easy trail from Sumudo, but the right branch has a rocky step that would be difficult for horses. He also told us the local names of peaks visible from the village: Skanglaya (R1) and Usuchan (R36).

On the 18th we walked south to Sumudo, where the valley forks, noting that R26 and 27 are fine rock peaks. The weather was poor next day, and we were tired, so we didn’t move, but on the 20th we trekked to a camp in the right branch—the Nateo Nala. By climbing onto the glacier we were able to make a good photographic record of the mountains around its head, noting a fine snow pyramid (R20, 6,110m) and the highest summit in this sector, R18 (6,111m), to its north. These peaks lie on the watershed with the Miyar Nala. [Several identified peaks on Nateo-Miyar divide may have been climbed from the west by British and Japanese in the early 1980s or more recently by Italians.] The following two days we visited the left branch or Katkar Nala, making our second camp below the lake, from where we noted the attractive R35 (6,148m). On the 23rd we left the valley, wondering whether strong young climbers will come to attempt such difficult peaks as R3 (6,036m) and R4 (6,080m). We photographed 21 peaks believed to be virgin, but may have made mistakes in identifying some peaks in this complex massif. We encourage climbers to visit the area and contact us with corrections to the map.

Kimikazu Sakamoto, Japan

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