In October 2017, Thomas Huber, Stephan Siegrist and Julian Zankar established a new line up the northwest face of Cerro Kishtwar in the Kashmir Himalaya, India. The route named Har-Har Mahadev follows a direct line up the centre of the 6155m granite peak. A short video has been released to give some impressions of the expedition.
The central buttress had eluded budding ascensionists since 1992, when British alpinists Andy Perkins and Brendan Murphy abandoned their attempt with under 100m remaining to the summit. Three successful ascents of the peak via different faces were made in the following 25 years, with the first ascent falling to Mick Fowler and Steve Sustad in 1993. In 2011, Stefan Siegrist joined forces with Swiss alpinist Denis Burden and Austrian climber David Lama to establish a second line, whilst the third ascent came in the form of a special line named Light Before Wisdom (ED+ 5.11 WI6 M6 A2, 1200m) realised on the east face by the late American Hayden Kennedy, Frenchman Manu Pellisier, and Slovenians Urban Novak and Marco Prezelj. This ascent won the team a Piolet D'Or.
With the aesthetic northwest buttress on his mind after the 2011 expedition, Stephan was the driving force of this latest expedition. After an initial failed attempt, where the team decided to bail after ascending only seven pitches in three days having underestimated the difficulty of the wall, the trio regrouped and launched a second attempt. They had fixed lines from the highpoint and jumared to the start of pitch 8 and continued by aid climbing A3+ seams on the steep headwall. Despite spindrift and temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius, the team summited after seven days of effort on October 14th.
Read a full report on Rock & Ice.