Four Big Free Routes in India
An American expedition completed four new routes in the Miyar Valley of India’s Himachel Pradesh mountains, climbing all free and bagging three virgin summits.
After arriving at base camp on August 13, Pat Goodman, Dave Sharratt, and Freddie Wilkinson warmed up with an 1,150-foot 5.11 on the South Face of the unclimbed Orange Tower (ca. 17,075 feet).
The trio then attempted Peak 5,960m, an unclimbed rock pyramid above the Jangpar Glacier. After 1,500 feet of mixed climbing on the North Face, they followed the West Ridge with mostly moderate rock climbing until they were forced down by a storm about 900 feet below the top. Hoping to avoid the poor mixed climbing they’d found during their first attempt, the team moved to a high camp on the Dali Glacier, and on August 29 Sharratt and Wilkinson climbed the 19,554-foot mountain via the West Ridge (IV+ 5.9+, 2,150 feet). Goodman was not able to reach the top because of illness.
At the head of the Dali Glacier, the steep South Face of Mt. Mahindra (19,176 feet) offered the next objective. Starting up a line attempted by an Italian team in 2003, the team fixed two pitches and then, two days later, Sharratt and Wilkinson returned to fire the 2,800-foot route, Ashoka’s Pillar (V+ 5.11 R), to reach the middle summit of Mahindra.
Goodman, whose illness had prevented him from climbing on Mahindra, free-soloed the first ascent of the South Ridge on Peak 5,300m (17,400 feet) in eight hours. Goodman called the route P.K.D (III+ 5.9-, 1,800 feet).
Dates of Ascents: August-September 2007
Sources: Pat Goodman, Freddie Wilkinson