Expedition Report: India 2014

Brahmasar attempt Alpine Mentors Group 2014.
Brahmasar attempt Alpine Mentors Group 2014.

by Steven van Sickle

 

On the October 1st, 2014, Steve House, Jim Elzinga, Steven Van Sickle, Buster Jesik, and Colin Simon gathered in Delhi, India for the final expedition of the Alpine Mentors program.  Our goal was to climb a new route on the unclimbed Brahmasar I, (5,850) that rises off of the Satling and Dudhganga glaciers.  After a few days of collecting supplies in Delhi we began driving north to the town of Ghuttu in the foot hills of the Indian Himalaya.  From Ghuttu we began our four day trek through a series of beautiful mountain villages to our base camp at the mouth of the Bhilangna River.  Our amazing cooks Seroch and Hera, manned this station for us while we established an advanced base camp at the toe of the Dudhganga glacier about 3 hours trek from BC.  From here we were able to scope the south faces of Brahmasar and the Fortress. 

 




After a few days of shuttling loads and acclimatizing we split into two teams and went out on an exploratory mission.  Jim, Buster, and Colin explored the Dudhganga glacier up to “The Eye of Mordor” while Steve and I climbed a spire we named Sickle Spire (M5, 5334m) apart of a feature we dubbed “Brahmasar du Tacul”.  From the Summit of Sickle Spire we were able to gain good views of the south face of Brahmasar.

Steve House climbing a new route on Brahmasar III.
Steve House climbing a new route on Brahmasar III.

After a bit more recon on Brahmasar the mentees decided to head for a prominent couloir on the south face while Jim and Steve climbed a parallel mixed route to the right of our line (Elzinga/House, M6).   The first half of our route was 45 degree snow up to a rock headwall and an icy couloir.  From this point Elzinga and House climbed straight up rock to the top of Brahmasar III, while we headed up left and into fun WI3/4 pitches.  The couloir had very few ledges and steeper climbing than we assumed from our recon; so brewing up was harder than we thought it would be.  At around 4:00 pm we found a ledge large enough to fit 90% of our two man tent.  Here we set up a very cramped bivy and tossed and turned until morning.  The following day of climbing brought us into a high altitude choss pile, spitting distance from a shoulder near the summit.  From here we began rappelling down the route and back to ABC with tails between our legs. 

The last bit of climbing on our trip was to the top of Brahmasar du Tacul`s highest point.  After a lot of post holing out of ABC, we accessed fun ice and firm neve to the summit boulder problem.  After a day of rest we began breaking down our ABC and began the trek back to Ghuttu where we met some locals that introduced us to Indian scotch and roof top disco.