French Team Climbs Bold New Route in Himalaya


The French route up the previously unclimbed southwest face of Kamet in northern India. Courtesy of the GMHM

10/11/12 - Four French climbers have completed the first route up the southwest face of Kamet (25,446 feet), the second-highest peak in northern India's Garhwal Himalaya, in a superb alpine-style ascent. After acclimatizing on a neighboring peak, Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdain, Sébastien Moatti,and Sébastien Ratel climbed the 6,500-foot face with passages of difficult rock and beyond-vertical ice (Spicy Game, ED1). They reached the south ridge, about 900 feet below the top, after four days of climbing, and bivouacked there, at 24,600 feet, before heading to the summit on September 26. They descended by the south ridge after another night at their high camp and returned to advanced base late on September 27.

The four climbers are all members of the French Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne (GMHM), a small group of elite mountaineers and non-combatant soldiers that advises the French military. (See Climbing 310, November 2012, for more about the GMHM).

Read more about the climb (in French) and see more photos at the GMHM website.

Dates of ascent: September 22–27, 2012

Sources: Didier Jourdain,,