Fowler & Ramsden: 1st Ascent of Kishtwar Kailash

by Dan Bailey - Oct/2013
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Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden have made the first ascent of Kishtwar Kailash (6451m) in the Indian Himalaya.The pair reached the summit by a route on its 1500m southwest face, with mixed climbing up to Scottish VI.

Paul Ramsden (left) and Mick Fowler on the summit of Kishtwar Kailash
© Paul Ramsden

Rising above a remote valley, Kishtwar Kailash is the highest peak in East Kishtwar. It had been attempted by only one previous expedition in 1989, and the last time that mountaineers visited the valley was 1991. Then from 1994 political troubles led to the area being closed to expeditions.

Fowler first spotted Kishtwar Kailash during his expedition to Cerro Kishtwar in 1993 and a photo he took from the summit showed a striking peak that, in the right circumstances, would, he said, be a 'clear plum objective' for an exploratory mountaineer. Once the area was reopened last year he finally had the chance to take a closer look.

Paul Ramsden climbing on Kishtwar Kailash
© Mick Fowler

'There is no easy way up Kishtwar Kailash and Paul and I are extremely happy that we managed to make the first ascent via the dramatic south west face' said Fowler.

'After acclimatising, we left base camp on 4th October and, following an open bivouac at 6,200m, got to the summit during the morning of 9th. 

'It was a great route, with spectacular situations and varied climbing up to Scottish VI. The outcome was in particular doubt on day four, which involved several very hard mixed pitches up a couloir cleaving monolithic walls.'

Kishtwar Kailash from the north - the south west face is the right hand skyline, 129 kbKishtwar Kailash from the north - the south west face is the right hand skyline
© Mick Fowler

'The descent was almost entirely by abseil down the line of ascent' said Fowler. 'We managed to descend a fair way on the summit day and completed the return to base camp by a very long day on 10th.'

The pair were supported on the mountain by fellow climbers Mike Morrison and Rob Smith.

Mick Fowler on day three on Kishtwar Kailash (6451m), 166 kbMick Fowler on day three on Kishtwar Kailash (6451m)
© Paul Ramsden

Bivouac number four, 103 kbBivouac number four
© Mick Fowler

Mick Fowler is sponsored by Berghaus. During the trip the lead climbers used the latest technical clothing and equipment from Berghaus, including new water resistant Hydrodown products that Fowler helped develop with the MtnHaus team.

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