India, Himachal Pradesh
Climbs And Expeditions
Original Author: Tim Halder, AAC. Published at the American Alpine Journal.
In August, Sandeep Nain, Jason Schilling, and I headed up the Miyar Valley with two cooks and eight horses, against the flow of shepherds and their flocks moving to the lowlands of Himachal and the Punjab. The incredible scenery was enough to keep our minds off the “Delhi-belly” and low-grade flu bugs we picked up on the way from the lowlands. Three days of pleasant trekking brought us to the standard base camp, a beautiful spot in the valley bottom that is large and flat enough for a soccer field.
Over the next three weeks we made two separate forays to the upper Takdung Glacier, climbing two new routes. Reaching the upper glacier is a tedious affair: Many hours of boulder hopping are needed before gaining the vast snowfields above. We established high camp at ca 5,180m. On the 27th it took all day to climb 14 pitches, up to 5.10b A1, to the unnamed peak between Trento and Om Shanti (both climbed by Italians in 2008). Darkness descended on top, and we decided it was best to shiver for 10 hours there until morning.
At first light, we discovered we were not actually on the summit, but still had another tower to climb. Zombies may very well have climbed the next two pitches faster, but Sandeep bravely aided across a horizontal crack to bring us to the summit around 9 a.m. We named the peak Sanjana.
On September 3 we explored the head of the Takdung Glacier, passing an unclimbed rock toweron the Takdung-Chhudung divide that we called the Hitchhiker, and eventually climbing onto the crest of the watershed ridge between the Takdung and the large glacier to its northeast. On the glorious morning of the 4th we climbed unroped to the highest peak at the head of the Takdung Glacier via a southeast-facing snow/ice headwall and a rimy summit scramble. We named it Mt. Sealth in honor of our home, Seattle. As usual, by late morning the weather deteriorated quickly, and we descended in a fog and graupel.
On the 8th, Jason and Sandeep finished the trip by putting up a new line on David’s 62 Nose to the right of Lufoo Lam (350m, UIAA VII+, Grmovsek-Grmovsek, 2007). Climbing on solid granite, they reached the summit just as the daily dose of graupel fell from the heavens. They called their line the Emerson-Owen Route (350m, seven pitches, 5.10a).
Tim Halder, AAC
Editor’s note: This route appears to start left of Clandestine (2008), possibly sharing common ground with Shim Nak (2004) at around half-height, and climbs similar terrain to D’yer Ma’ker (2009) toward the top.