British first ascents in remote area of east India Himalaya

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 24/11/2014
Cheepaydang from the south, showing the route of ascent. Martin Moran.
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An expedition organized by Martin Moran, and including a group from the Scottish Mountaineering Club, made the first ascent of Cheepaydang, the second highest mountain in India's remote Adi Kailiash Range, and a smaller peak named Concordia Parbat.

The Adi Kailash lies in the far east of India, close to the Nepalese border, and ca 110km south of the famous holy Mount Kailash in Tibet.

This expedition was the fourth organized by Moran.

In 2002 a number of smaller peaks were ascended and Adi Kailash (5,045m) attempted to within 130m of the summit. Two years later Adi Kailash was climbed to within 15m of its sacred summit by an eight-member group led by Andy Perkins.

In 2006 Moran returned to attempt Brammah Parbat (6,321m), the highest peak. However, the State Government refused access to this mountain and instead, with six team members, Moran made the first ascent of Ishan Parbat (6,100m).

The expedition also took the opportunity of reconnoitring the Nama Valley.

This autumn Moran established base camp at 3,990m in the Nama Valley, which gives access to the south side of Cheepaydang (Peacock Peak).

The mountain has three summits, with the central the highest. The tops are linked by a knife-edge ridge, which overlooks an impressive 1,000m face to the north.

Over two days, Michael Page, Gordon Scott and Moran climbed a slanting snow/ice couloir on the south face at 60° and Scottish IV mixed. They bivouacked at 6,160m on the southwest ridge and reached the highest point - measured at 6,220m - via a short ridge traverse of AD.

They then descended the couloir through the following night, largely by rappel. The overall difficulty was D.

In the meantime SMC members Steve Kennedy and Des Rubens were making the first ascent of an unnamed peak southwest of the col at the head of the north branch of the Nama Glacier.

The glacier approach proved crevassed and complex, but together with two Sherpas the pair found a safe route to the col.

The Sherpas decided to wait at this point: they had brought no ice axes, probably not understanding there would be technical climbing above.

Kennedy and Rubens followed a fine, steep and exposed snow arête to the southwest, crossing moderate rock below the summit.

They had no altimeter, but estimated the height to be 5,850m and the route about AD in standard.

They were rewarded with a magnificent view which included the giant peaks of Nanda Devi to the west and Gurla Mandata to the northeast in Tibet.

Returning to the col, they were sorry that the two Sherpas had been unable to share the success, though the latter did not seem overly disappointed.

The peak was provisionally named Concordia Parbat, as the many-branched Nama Glacier cirque resembles the "Concordias" of the Alps and Karakoram.

Apart from the administrative difficulties of penetrating this area, the main deterrent is the poor quality of underlying rock.

It is a beautiful range for exploratory climbing but despite a large number of mountains above the Nama Glacier, moderate or safe lines appeared quite limited.



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Anonymous User
23/12/2014
Clearly not the eastern part of India-but the eastern part of the western section of the Indian Himalaya because it's just north of New Delhi.

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