American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Central and Southwest Tibet, Various Ascents

Tibet

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Peter DeCelles, AAC
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

In the course of geological field research on the India- Asia collision zone, members of our University of Arizona Geosciences team have climbed several non-technical peaks, some of which would only be legally available to those with research permits.

In 2012 we climbed an unnamed 6,164m summit at 29°54.971’ N, 84°52.795’ E, in the group of peaks immediately northeast of the Loinbo Kangri Range. Locally known as the Linzhou Range, it is designated on the Russian 1:200,000 topographic map of the region as the Kanchun Kangri. From a camp in the main valley, which we reached by Land Cruiser, we walked eight kilometers northeast up a side valley to place a high camp at 5,800m, at the toe of the ice sheet that blankets the west face of 6,164m. (This peak is located just south of Pt. 6,251m on the Russian map.) The upper reaches of this valley hold four beautiful, dry alpine glaciers, which appear to be in rapid retreat.

On June 26 Barbara Carrapa, Ryan Leary, and I climbed directly up the icy west face, which was easy 35-40° ne?ve? with patches of ice, arriving on the summit at 8 a.m., just in time to catch first light igniting the upper reaches of Loinbo Kangri (7,095m). The fourth member of our party, Matt Dettinger, climbed solo on loose rock up a 6,087m rocky sub-summit on the ridge southwest of our top (29°54.774’ N, 84°52.392’ E). The only other recorded climb in this range is Pt. 6,044m, a dry peak on the northwest side of our approach valley, climbed in 2006, solo, by Oliver von Rotz.

During previous fieldwork in central Tibet, in 2004, Paul Kapp and I climbed an unnamed 6,258m summit in the Muggar Kangri Range (shown on Technical Pilot Chart TPC G-7C). This remote range contains three clusters of 6,000m peaks, and is well seen north of Dagze Co, a sizable lake north of Nyima. Located at 32°17.624’ N, 087°23.287’ E, the peak is 58km north-northeast of Nyima. A slightly higher summit to the north could easily be reached from this point.

During our 2005 field season in the Kailash region of southwestern Tibet, Paul Kapp and I climbed an unnamed 5,781m summit at 31°37.910’ N, 79°59.506’ E in the Ayi Shan while collecting samples of granite and snow. This obscure peak (more or less north-northeast of Kamet on the Indo-Tibet border) is located near the main road that leads west across the Ayi Shan into the Zhada basin, where the 10th century Guge ruins are located. The climb was a long scramble up snowy, shattered-granite terrain. Again, this region is legally accessed only with research permits.

In June 2007, Paul Kapp and I ascended the long gorge shaped like an inverted question mark leading from the south shore of Lake Manasarovar into the heart of the Gurla Mandhata massif. We made camp after six hours’ walk, 750m northeast of Namarodi Co. The big U-shaped canyon is flanked on both sides by an imposing array of 6,000m summits, all of which are dwarfed by the immense east face of 7,694m Gurla Mandhata. On the 14th we ascended a fine, south- and east- trending, corniced snow ridge directly to an unnamed 6,085m summit (30°26.518’ N, 081°28.525’ E). This region is desolate and wild, with no obvious signs of human activity.

Peter DeCelles, AAC

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