American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Purkung, North Face; Belgian Peak, West Ridge; New Traverse from the Teri La to Muktinath

Nepal, Damodar Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Paulo Grobel
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

The primary aim of our trip was to climb summits of the Teri Himal, a small subrange northeast of the Teri La (itself northeast of the Thorong La) in the southern Damodar Range. I felt these 6,000m peaks would offer interesting climbing at a moderate grade, and in climbing them we would be promoting this “forgotten” region.

Looking  northeast at unclimbed summits of the Teri Himal from the top of Purkung. 

We surveyed the trek up the Labse Khola above Naar, finding the correct local names of campsites for a new map, locating a suitable base camp, and taking pictures of the nearby summits. These summits were ideal for our purpose, but unfortunately we didn't climb any. The weather was poor and we had to leave enough time for the second part of the project: opening a trekking route from the Teri La, over the Yakawa Kang Pass, to the small village of Jhong, northeast of Muktinath Temple, all without crossing into upper Mustang.

This journey proved excellent, through pure wilderness, and the terrain made it somewhere between trekking and climbing. Along the way we climbed a couple of small, easy summits; Purkung (28°48'54.05"N, 83°59'25.20"E) and Belgian Peak (28°50'1.86"N, 83°57'35.58"E). The icing on the cake!

We climbed Purkung (6,128m, a.k.a. Purkhang) from a camp at 5,795m, via the north-northwest snow slopes, at II/F+ (Dominique Ansel, Jean-Paul Charpentier, Philippe Duchène, and me on May 26; Rajan Bothe, Anil Rai, Karma Sherpa, and Urpa Tamang on May 27). The only previously known ascent of this peak took place in 2004, via the west ridge, by a large team of Japanese and Sherpas [AAJ 2005].

We climbed Belgian Peak (6,110m) from a camp at 5,640m, via the west ridge and snow slopes, at II/F (Ansel, Bothe, Duchène, Anil Rai, Karma Sherpa, and Urpa Tamang on May 28). This peak was probably first climbed from Muktinath to the west in May 2011 by the Belgian Jean-Francois Meyer). We returned via Jomoson and Pokhara.

The Teri Himal is a perfect location to conduct an adventurous trip. Apart from its unclimbed peaks, there is also potential for fine new lines farther south, including Purkung from the Mustang side or the northeast face of Yakawa Kang (6,482m). Just open a map, take the right permit, and go!

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– Paulo Grobel, France

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