American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

CCKN, South Face, Attempt

India, Himachal Pradesh, Spiti

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Lindsay Griffin
  • Climb Year: 2018
  • Publication Year: 2019

In June, Damien Gildea attempted the south face of CCKN (6,303m, a.k.a. Chau Chau Kang Nilda, the “Blue Moon in the Sky.) Gildea climbed 650m of snow, ice, and rock (50°) to around 6,150m, where he was stopped by a large crevasse. He retreated down the southwest face. During the climb, he photographed interesting views of rarely seen peaks (see photos below).

The preceding winter was one of the driest on record, and Gildea found poor snow conditions below 6,000m and noted that it was generally too warm for a good overnight freeze. A local person suggested that in recent years the months of September and October have experienced much better weather, with June and July generally being terrible. Gildea also noted that many previous reports of climbing in Spiti have failed to convey the steep, rocky nature of the region. CCKN was first climbed in 1939 by Jimmy Roberts and has seen numerous ascents since, primarily Indian and mostly from the west.

– Lindsay Griffin, with information from Damien Gildea, Australia

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