American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Lenak Nala, L8 (a.k.a. Lama Soo), East Face and North Ridge

India, Zanskar

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Lindsay Griffin
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

In August a team of Japanese college students, Gakushi Eguchi, Satoru Miyachi, Yuu Nishida, and Ryota Takanezawa, drove from Leh over the Shingo La to Darcha, and then trekked into the Lenak Valley via the village of Thangso. They planned to climb the east ridge of L8 (6,020m, 33°09'27''N, 77°02'08"E), one of 104 peaks opened in Zanskar in 2010 by the Indian government. This peak lies immediately northeast of Skilma Kangri (5,979m), climbed in 2009 (AAJ 2010).

In a photo of L8, the east ridge looked gentle and wide. On August 28 the climbers established Camp 1 on the south side of the ridge, at 5,300m, but found the crest to be full of loose rock and steep pinnacles. They changed plan and decided to cross the ridge, descend north into another valley, and attempt the north ridge, a gentle snow crest.

It took two days to establish Camp 2, at 5,400m, below the northeast face of L8, the descent to this spot involving crevasses and some rockfall. On the 31st, all four set out at 7:30 a.m., crossing two glacial streams and climbing mixed scree and snow to the col at the foot of the north ridge. Just before reaching the crest, they climbed a steep, 5m ice wall. They reached the summit via the easy snow crest at 12:25 p.m. [L8 has two tops, the north, which they reached, being the higher; the ridge between the two is narrow and loose]. They regained base camp on September 2.

L8 was first climbed in 2012 from the Raru Valley to the west by Greeks Nikos Lazanas and George Voutiropoulos (AD, AAJ 2013). They measured the summit with an altimeter as 5,947m and named the peak Lama Soo (Monk's Tooth). These two then descended the north ridge, crossing L7 (measured as 5,820m) and one other top before going down to the Raru.

Lindsay Griffin, with information from Kimikazu Sakamoto and the Asian Alpine News

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.

Photos and Topos Click photo to view full size and see caption