Kirti Nose, South Face, Between Two Parties
India, Western Garhwal, Gangotri
At the beginning of September I traveled to the Garhwal with Jonas Schild and Andy Schnarf. The monsoon was unusually long this year, and it quickly became apparent that climbing would probably not go according to plan. Our base camp was on the Kirti Bamak (Glacier), just off the Gangotri Glacier and below the south face of Shivling. Large amounts of new snow caught us by surprise. Facing increasing avalanche risk, we had to accept that, after four weeks of anticipation, our main target would remain unclimbed.
Then a small weather window opened, promising very little precipitation. This presented an opportunity for an alternative project that we didn’t want to miss: a beautiful rock face, easily seen from base camp. It was almost 400m high and somewhat resembled the Nose on El Capitan. The southern exposure allowed the face to dry quickly in sunshine, and the low altitude—4,950m on top—proved optimal in the temperamental conditions.
We climbed the route over four days. Having no portaledges, we chose to fix the first seven pitches and then climbed to the top on the last day (October 4). The rock on the first five pitches is excellent. Pitches six, seven, and eight were a bit loose, but the final two were again good. To a point some meters above the belay on pitch six we found old gear (mostly belay/rappel anchors that appeared to be at least 20 years old), but above we found nothing. We have been unable to identify who may have tried this pillar in the past.
As the formation lies on the edge of the Kirti Glacier, we decided to call it Kirti Nose, and the route is Between Two Parties (7b A3), after a fabulous party at base camp with Alex and Thomas Huber and Tad McCrea.
Back in civilization, we learned with sadness of the avalanche accident that happened only 24km away on October 4. At least 27 people, mostly young Indians, tragically lost their lives while climbing the popular Draupadi ka Danda II (5,670m). It is hard to find the right words for this.
— Stephan Siegrist, Switzerland