Alpine Club first ascents in India

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 10/11/2010
First ascent of Snow Leopard Peak. Derek Buckle

Five members of the Alpine Club have recently returned from a successful exploratory expedition to the Indian Himalaya, where they climbed four previously virgin peaks.

The Alpine Club organizes a number of 'meets' throughout the year, from weekends in the Peak District to expeditions in the Greater Ranges.

The most recent saw Derek Buckle, Michael Cocker, Drew Cook, John Hudson and Laura Millichamp visit the Jiwa Nala in the protected region of the Great Himalayan National Park.

Located in Himachal Pradesh, the Jiwa drains west towards the Beas River, south of the famous tourist resort of Manali. It lies in Banjar region, approximately 70kms east-southeast of the large regional town of Kullu.

The area had been recommended by the Himalayan authority, Harish Kapadia, and as far as is known had not previously been visited by mountaineers.

While shepherds had occasionally grazed flocks in the past, the valley can only be accessed via two difficult passes and no permanent settlement has ever been established. Peaks at the valley head rise to 5,445m.

From a high camp just below the glacial snout, Buckle, Cocker and Cook accessed an upper glacier via a steep snow couloir and then made the first ascent of Snow Leopard Peak (5,365m), climbing a mixed route on the South Face at AD.

The expedition also made first ascents of Tribulation Point (5,125m) and Sentinel Peak (5,140m), which lie in the crenulated cirque south of Snow Leopard. After establishing a different high camp, they also climbed Snowcock Point (4,890m), south of the main valley.

The Great Himalayan National Park is well-known for its biodiversity and the team frequently came across bear scat and saw snow leopard tracks on the glacier.

The expedition was supported by the AC Climbing Fund and a full report will be published in the Alpine Journal.

For more information on the Alpine Club visit www.alpine-club.org.uk

Thanks to Derek Buckle and Mike Cocker for help with this report
 



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