Asia, India, Lahaul, Peak 6, 184m; Trident Peak
Peak 6,184m; Trident Peak. We arrived in Delhi during mid- September and after three days’ coach travel reached the village of Darcha on the well-used Manali Leh military road. Three short days of trekking along the Jankar Nala, northwest of Darcha, got us to base camp (4,300m) in a dry, dusty valley west of the river. Our aim was to attempt peaks a little east of the well-known mountain in this area, Gangstang (6,162m), but our primary objective was Peak 6,184m, a summit previously tried by Japanese in 1999 and 2003, and again in 2008 by an expedition organized by the guide Martin Moran, who also organized our trip. The 2008 expedition attempted the south-southeast ridge, reaching a height of 5,850m, but was stopped by unusually high snowfall.
Toward the end of September we explored the glacier leading to Peak 6,184m and with the help of high-altitude porters established an advanced base at 5,000m. From here it was four hours’ walk on easy glacier terrain to the bottom of the south face at 5,585m.On the 30th three members descended from advanced base, while the remaining six attempted a summit close to the southwest ridge of Peak 6,184m. It was unnamed on the map, but because of the three rocky tops we dubbed it Trident Peak. Unconsolidated snow led to the crest of the elegant northeast ridge. Benja- man Fry, guides Jonathan Preston and Robin Thomas, and I made it to the main summit, ca 5,700m. We found a cairn at the summit, probably constructed by one of the Japanese expeditions. We rated the climb PD+. We descended to base camp for a rest before attempting our main goal.
On October 2 six of us left for Peak 6,184m, staying the first night in advanced base and the second at high camp below the south face. For the
first time during the trip we noticed a build up of high cloud, and during the night it snowed. By 9:30 a.m. on the 4th the skies were clearing and a cold wind blowing, so Jonathan Preston and Robin Thomas set off to fix rope in the initial couloir. After 150m of easy ground, they reached a narrow, steeper section and fixed 100m up terrain of Scottish II. They returned to camp, where it snowed for most of that evening.
By 1:00 a.m. on the 5th the weather improved, and by 2:30 a.m. we were away, climbing in three ropes of two. Ben Gibbison and Emma Read left another long rope at the fixed section, enabling 100m rappels on the descent, but they retreated from this point. We continued, climbing seven 55m pitches (50° maximum) to reach a level section on the summit ridge. We circumvented a final prominent rock tower by an elegant snow ridge on the northeast flank, and Preston and Fry reached the summit at 7:42 a.m. They spent 45 minutes recording a GPS altitude of 6,165m. Thomas and I arrived just after they left.
With the help of two HAPs, we cleared all equipment and were down at base camp on the 6th. We felt the grade of the climb to be about AD+ and have proposed the name Saravsati for the peak.
In the meantime Marc Booysen, Steve Foster, Stuart Irving, and our liaison officer explored up-glacier toward the Jankar Billing Range. Here they found peaks of ca 5,500– 5,600m, all likely unclimbed.
David Bingham U.K.