Paul Ramsden and Tim Miller have just returned from a trip to the Jugal Himal, north-east of Kathmandu in Nepal, where they made the first ascent of an unnamed and apparently unclimbed peak mapped at 6563m. The pair have named the peak Jugal Spire, and their 1200m granite north-face route The Phantom Line ED+.
Paul told his sponsor, Mountain Equipment:
"The north face forms a huge sweep of granite with one potential line of weakness that we climbed over an eight day period with five days spent on the face. The route was hard with thin ice and mixed climbing, with enough blank sections to keep us guessing all the way up. We have called the route The Phantom Line (ED+) due to its ability to appear and disappear when viewed under different light and weather conditions."
Paul told UKC:
"The climb is a product of too much time spent on Google Earth during the lockdowns. The mountain itself is actually one of the closest to Kathmandu and its north face is one of the biggest and steepest rock walls in Nepal, but this appears to have previously gone unnoticed.
"The route itself shouldn't really be there, as it's no place for an ice route. However after many hours of studying the wall we managed to piece together an almost continuous line of snow and ice. One noticeable problem was a blank piece of rock in the centre of the wall, however when we got there we found a hidden squeeze chimney that climbed inside the rock for about three pitches making the whole thing possible. The chimney was a sack hauling nightmare."
Paul has four Piolet d'Or awards to his name, earning recognition alongside Mick Fowler for first ascents of the North Face of Siguniang in China in 2003, the Prow of Shiva in India in 2013, Gave Ding in Nepal in 2016 and the North Buttress of Nyainqentangla South East in Tibet in 2016 with Nick Bullock.
Tim is an instructor and trainee mountain guide with winter ascents up to grade IX and first ascents in the Greater Ranges up to 7,000m prior to this latest summit.