Kang Yatse Group: Shan Ri, North Face and East Ridge

India, Ladakh
Author: Paulo Roxo. Climb Year: 2018. Publication Year: 2019.

In August I guided Pedro Costa, Tiago Faneca, and João Lopes on an expedition to Ladakh. We spent four days on the famous Markha Valley Trek, then established base camp at 4,400m in the Langthang Chu, near the settlement marked as Male, aiming to climb a nearby high peak.

Camp I was made at 5,170m, very close to the snout of the “Male Glacier,” which drains a basin to the south of the Kang Yatse massif. This glacier has several peaks on its southern side of which there is no record of any ascents or attempts. On August 30 we moved to Camp 2 (5,550m).

The next day we left at 4 a.m. and headed up the glacier, which was seemingly devoid of crevasses, and in three hours we were at the base of our chosen peak. We climbed the north face of the mountain for 300m, via a 55–60° slope, mostly on ice around AI3+ with some easy rock steps, all of which we belayed. We reached the east ridge and climbed another 55° ice slope to gain the summit at 6,198m (33.701860°N, 77.561501°E), at 2:30 p.m.

We downclimbed the east ridge to a small col, from where we managed to descend to the glacier in three 60m rappels, reaching the bergschrund just at dusk. Unofficially, we called the peak Shan Ri (“snow leopard peak” in Ladakhi); we named our route North Face Indirect.

After this my regular partner Daniela Teixeira arrived, and we traveled to the Suru Valley and unsuccessfully attempted two peaks at the head of the Pensilungpa Glacier, south of the Pensi La. Very bad snow conditions and an incoming storm forced us back, so we returned east to Kang Yatse and climbed to 6,000m on the eastern spur before deep snow and dangerous avalanche conditions again forced us to retreat.

– Paulo Roxo, Portugal

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