Bhrikuti (6,361m), North Ridge
Nepal, Mukut Himal, Damodar Himal
Bhrikuti is a Buddhist goddess. It is also the name of a Nepali princess, and the wife of the famous Tibetan emperor, Songsten Gampo. In addition, it is the name of a small summit in the Damodar Himal, deep in the confines of Nepal and Tibet, between Mustang and Phu. For a long time, its location and the story of the first ascent were unclear. This was partially due to there being no decent map of the area—but mainly because it was difficult to pinpoint the peak when looking from Mustang to the north. After an ascent of Bhrikuti's south side in the spring of 2005, and two traverses between Mustang and Phu, I returned again with a group in spring 2010. We reached Damodar Kunda, a group of small, sacred lakes that are wrongly marked on the HMG Finn map. We were there primarily to make a previously unexplored trek to North Mustang and the village of Samdzong. This would require us to play a few games to deal with border crossings.
Climbing Bhrikuti from the north is very easy; you can even take mules to a camp at 5,800m. Nine of us reached the summit by a route of Himalayan grade II/F. However, our climb was mainly a means of getting a glimpse into this hidden corner of the massif, in particular Lagula (6,898m) and the Tibetan side behind Chako (6,704m). In order to avoid future confusion, we have decided to name the small neighboring summits and landmarks: Himso Himal (6,337m, after the Himalayan Society); the Tir Hawa La (after Tirawa), the ca 6,200m col between Himso Himal and Bhrikuti; and the third and highest summit of this group, Sheika Kangri (6,358m), which is the Tibetan name of Michel Peissel, the French explorer and ethnologist, who has written around 20 books on his Himalayan and Tibetan expeditions.
Now all that remains for us to do in the Bhrikuti group is to traverse all the summits from Bhrikuti to Kumlun, or put up more difficult lines on the south side of Bhrikuti.
(Translated by Todd Miller)