Miyar Valley, Masala Peak (5,650m), Los Crotos (not to summit); Neverseen Tower (5,750m), Changa Style (not to summit). For 20 days in September, Carloncho Guerra, Aztlan Madio, and I visited the Miyar, intending to climb new rock routes. We took a public bus to the road head and didn’t hire porters, horses, or even a cook for base camp. With bad weather and heavy sacks, it took six days to reach base camp on the moraine of the Chhudong Glacier.
After waiting out more bad weather, a window suddenly appeared, and on September 16 we climbed the north face of Masala Peak. Although we probably made the first ascent of this great rock wall, we didn’t go to the summit, stopping at ca 5,500m because we had brought no ice gear for the final, nontechnical, section. We rappelled our line, which we named Los Crotos (705m, 6b+), regaining our tents at midnight.
Two days later, in continued good weather, but with the walls still heavily iced, we attempted the left pillar of the west face of Neverseen Tower. Starting left of the 1992 Italian route, Horn Please, we climbed six pitches and then made a cold bivouac on a narrow ledge. Next day we climbed four pitches and just about
reached the Italian route. At this point increasing ice in the cracks was making progress difficult and time-consuming. We descended after having climbed 520m to 6c, naming our variant Changa Style. PHOTOS
Lucas Alzamora, Argentina
Miyar Valley, Sanjana Peak (5,937m), southwest ridge; Mt. Sealth (5,968m) east ridge; David’s 62 Nose (4,950m), southwest face, Emerson-Owen Route. 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. Three days of pleasant trekking brought us to the standard base camp.
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 in honor of Sandeep’s late sister.
On September 3 we climbed 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). [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.]