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Asia, India, Himachal Pradesh, Pangi Valley, Mountaineering History, Unclimbed Objectives from the Saichu Valley

Pangi Valley, mountaineering history; unclimbed objectives from the Saichu Valley. Early history in the Pangi was made by Japanese Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Everest, who in 1988 made the first ascent of Shiva by the southwest face from the Parmar Valley (AAJ 1989). In 2001 a Japanese team climbed Baihali Jot (6,290m) by the north ridge (AAJ 2002). In 2002 an Indian expedition made the second ascent of Shiva, following the 1988 route (AAJ 2003). In 2004 Chris Bonington, Harish Kapadia, and friends trekked north up the Saichu as far as the confluence of the Tarundi and Paphita valleys, then continued east up the latter to climb Jot Mund (5,130), Jambu Peak (5,105) and Pimu Peak (5,480) on the watershed between the Miyar and Paphita valleys. The following year Diego Stefani’s expedition climbed Shiva Shankar West, as mentioned in the previous report.

In 2007 Bonington returned, this time going up the Sural Valley from the administrative capital, Killar. While he and Raj Kumar climbed Peak 5,027m, the other three members of his British team, Rob Ferguson, Graham Little, and Jim Lowther, attempted the northwest face of unclimbed Shiva Shankar (6,011m), failing due to rotten rock. It was left to Japanese Kazuo Kozu, Hidetaka Lizuka, and Reiko Maruyama, with three Indian porters, to make the first ascent of Shiva Shankar (Sersank Peak, because it dominates the Sersank Pass to the north) the following year, via the route attempted by the British trio.

Many challenges remain, the most notable being the eastern and northern aspects of Shiva [attempted by Russians, see below]. Equally

interesting are the unclimbed icy northwestern faces of Menthosa (6,443m), Baihali Jot (6,290m), and its satellites, the latter with elegant ice faces above the Saichu Valley. No less intriguing is the south face of Shiva Shankar, though it has a disturbing array of seracs that get the sun most of the day. East of our base camp lay the confusingly named Baheli Jot (5,600m), a miniature Everest. The southwest ridge would provide good acclimatization and an interesting exploratory climb. Most of the history of climbing in the Pangi region is yet to be written.

Bruno Moretti, CAI, Italy