In September of 2016 we joined Crystal Davis Robbins & Whitney Clark for an expedition in the Kishtwar region of Kashmir in the Indian Himalayas. Our aim was to explore unclimbed rock features and climb them. Crystal & Whitney had their own objective and we were looking forward to attempting something suitable for us. During the expedition we spent around 20 days at the base camp including our forays to high camp and above.While staying at base camp we got attracted towards the rock buttresses that were just above the steep slopes near the base camp. So while returning to base camp from the high camp on 28th of September we decided to take a close look at those buttresses and check for possible lines to climb.The northeast face of the lower buttress looked promising, a steep face offering a series of flakes and cracks followed by some steep slabs,leading to the top of the buttress. We decided to go for this line in the coming days and hiked down to the base camp.
|Northeast face of the buttress, red line route of ascent , violet line descent route|
On 30th September after breakfast we left the base camp around 9.00 hrs in the morning.We carried a single 70 mt 9.7 mm rope, a set of nuts, cams ranging from 0.5 to 5, some with double and triple sizes, a cordallete and lots of slings.After couple of hours of steep hiking we reached the base of the buttress around 11.00 hrs.The weather was absolutely gorgeous without a single cloud in the sky, a stellar day for climbing.
I started up the first pitch, a steep system of flakes offered a route through the vertical rock face. I was cautious as the flakes were solid which provided a lot of confidence; the climbing was steep and strenuous though.I found good protection placements throughout the pitch. It was a long pitch of around 30 mt and I almost used the full size of the rack before reaching the belay. Jibbi followed cleaning the pitch. The next pitch was a nice contrast, easy slab climbing around 5.7 but mostly runout, after about 40 mt of climbing I set up the next belay. Jibbi took lead for the next pitch,an easy slab (5.7) around 30 mt long with spaced gear, that brought us to the crux pitch of the route, a steep corner system that jibbi led. It was a technical and long pitch,the cracks at sections were filled with grass which took a lot of effort to clean.After a long and demanding lead he set up the belay. I followed cleaning the pitch and joined him at the belay around 13.00 hrs. It was a long 40 mt pitch that tired me out after following with a pack.After the fourth pitch we rested for awhile and had our lunch of almonds and chocolates.
|Jibbi leading the fourth pitch 5.10|
|the fourth pitch|
|Belay at the top of the fourth pitch|
|the final pitch 5.8|