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Asia, India, Ladakh, South Suru Group, Lingsarmo (Pinnacle Peak), Southwest Ridge, Harish Kapadia Adds [to History of Pinnacle Peak]

South Suru Group, Lingsarmo, southwest ridge. Kate Harris, Rebecca Haspel (both Canada), and I, as leader, formed an all-female, unsupported expedition that visited the Nun Kun Massif with the goal of climbing Lingsarmo (formerly known as Pinnacle Peak, 6,955m). We used the standard Kun base camp, approaching from Shafat Village, and made Camp 1 (5,490m) just under Rabbit Rock, a little higher than the normal site used for an ascent of Kun. We climbed the Swiss Face, bivouacking part way up, before fixing six ropes on the steep section. Above the face we established Camp 2 at 6,130m. After traversing the plateau north, we placed Camp 3 (6,270m) closer to the high peaks. After one attempt, aborted due to heavy snow and wind, Rebecca and I reached the Kun - Lingsarmo col (34°01.166 'N, 76°04.180' E) and followed the southwest ridge of Lingsarmo toward the summit. Where the crest steepened, we made a rising traverse across the south flank, reaching the top at 6:30 a.m. on August 16. It took two hours to regain Camp 3. Research at the Indian Mountaineering Foundation shows that no permitted expedition had summited Lingsarmo since records were first kept, starting around 1958.

Alison Criscitiello, US

Harish Kapadia adds: The historic first ascent of Pinnacle Peak was made in 1906 via the southeast ridge by American Fanny Bullock Workman, Savoye (her guide), and a porter. At the time it was the highest summit reached by a woman, and close to the human altitude record. The ascent is well recorded in the Workmans’ 1909 book, Peaks and Glaciers of Nun Kun. The first editor of the Himalayan Journal, Kenneth Mason, created doubts about this ascent, although he never wrote explicitly that he doubted it: “Mrs. Bullock Workman claimed to have ascended to 23,300', to the summit of a peak which she named Pinnacle Peak, and which she persistently referred to as the second highest peak of the group. Her heights and this statement were at variance with previously triangulated values.” This was published in A note on the topography of the Nun Kun Massif in Ladakh, and later repeated in Masons scholarly work, Abode of Snow. The use of “claimed” fueled controversy, though it is not clear whether Mason doubted Workmans ascent or whether he, as a surveyor, was only discussing the height she gave.

Other teams have also reached this summit, particularly in the 1980s, and referred to it as Pinnacle Peak. These ascents have been recorded in various journals, and photos taken of the summit show it to be the same as that which appears on the front cover of the Workmans’ book, confirming Fanny Bullock Workman’s claim. Modern maps name it Lingsarmo and quote both Nun and Kun as 7,135m, making Workman’s peak the third highest in the group. It appears on the official list of new peaks opened for climbing in 2009.