MORE UNCLIMBED PEAKS IN TIBET

Posted on: April 10, 2007


The northeast face of an unnamed, unclimbed peak (6006m), Kangri Garpo, Eastern Tibet. Heights of the unclimbed peaks photo-documented here are based on a Russian topo map, unless otherwise indicated. [Photo] Silver Turtle Expeditions

Editor's Note: This winter Tamotsu Nakamura shared with Alpinist photos from his November 2006 expedition to Eastern Tibet. We featured his work in February's Climbing Life e-newsletter, which documented numerous unclimbed peaks in the Yiong Tsanpo, Botoi Tsangpo and Kangri Garpo regions. While Nakamura was exploring in other valleys of Kangri Garpo and the Nyainqentanglha East range, a group of elderly mountaineers, between sixty-one and sixty-seven years old, made a similar expedition to Tibet, also in search of untouched mountains. The photographs here, provided by the 2006 Silver Turtle expedition, reveal unclimbed peaks in the eastern Kangri Garpo range. This NewsWire marks the first time these photos have been shown to the world.

In October and November, Japan's Silver Turtle Group spied and documented numerous unclimbed peaks in the Kangri Garpo range of southeastern Tibet. The group, comprised of Takeo Honjo (leader), Kaneshige Ikeda, Haruhisa Kato, Isamu Moriyama and Hiroshi Sagano, took advantage of unusually fine weather and a steady snowpack to reach the upper section of the Lhagu (or Laigu) Glacier, from where they climbed and skied to observe the region.

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The Kangri Garpo range stretches west to east for 280 kilometers; during three weeks in October and November, the Group explored parts of the eastern range. Four other expeditions, in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2005, attempted to investigate the area without as much success. Floods, long detours and soft snow upset the plans of these earlier expeditions, which were only able to climb minor peaks and passes.

The Group traveled on and around the glacier from October 21, 2006 until November 10, making observations from hard-to-reach spots like the peak of Snow Dome (5928m) and the western headwaters of the Lhagu, near the border of the Midoi Glacier. Ikeda stated that "the journey strongly impressed us of the untrodden vast and great Lhagu Glacier."

The group assessed that the Lhagu's glacial lake has grown, and the Midoi Glacier has retreated, over the past fifteen years.

Expedition leader, Takeo Honjo, died unexpectedly at base camp on November 3.

Sources: Kaneshige Ikeda, Tamotsu Nakamura

This map shows the progress of the 2000 and 2006 Silver Turtle expeditions to the eastern Kangri Garpo range, East Tibet. Excellent weather and a steady snowpack allowed the party to travel much farther up the Lhagu Glacier this year. [Photo] Y. Matsumoto

The north face of Luqendo (6390m), Kangri Garpo, Eastern Tibet. [Photo] Silver Turtle Expeditions

The north face of an unnamed peak (6321m), Kangri Garpo, Eastern Tibet. [Photo] Silver Turtle Expeditions

The northeast face of an unnamed peak (6405m, Chinese map indicates 6606m), Kangri Garpo, Eastern Tibet. [Photo] Silver Turtle Expeditions

The north face of an unnamed peak (5480m), Kangri Garpo, Eastern Tibet. [Photo] Silver Turtle Expeditions

Hiqen or Gongyada III (ca. 6000m) is the striking peak in the center. In the foreground is the northeast face of Hiqen or Gongyada (6423m). [Photo] Silver Turtle Expeditions

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