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Climbing Mount Kanamo: Alone in the Indian trans-Himalayas

Submitted by rockstallion on 2007-07-23 | Last Modified on 2007-08-11

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by kulbhushan suryawanshi

Recently I was in the Spiti district of the Indian Trans-Himalayas for over a month. I lived at the house of a local spitian guy named Sushil Dorge in a small village called Kibber. Kibber is a small village with a population of about 150. Situated in the shadow of Mount Kanamo (5992 meters 32 22'12.16"N. 78 04'57.85"E) at an altitude of 4205 meters above sea level, it is the second highest village in the world to be connected by motor able road.

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Mount Kanamo
Mount Kanamo

Kanamo has been climbed a lot of times before. Most of these climbs have not been recorded as they were mostly by local people who did not have any affiliation with the Indian mountaineering foundation. Kanamo is not a very difficult summit. The north face is the Kanamo glacier and south face is mostly scree with occasional rock patches. There is also the south ridge called the Dombachen ridge connecting the Kanamo with the Dombachen peak. Surrounded by the Kibber plateau this area is teeming with wildlife. Blue sheep herds of up to ninety are often seen. Himalayan Ibex are also very common in this region. There have also been sightings of Tibetan wolves and lucky ones have seen Nono, the Snow leopard.

I had plans of climbing Mount Kanamo for a long time and on this trip I decided to execute those plans. On 2nd July I started from the village of Kibber at 4 am to try and reach the summit and get back by evening. I was nervous at first as I was climbing alone in darkness towards my first Himalayan summit. The weather was clouded but it seemed like it would open up later in the day, which it did. Since I was west of the Dombachen ridge I knew I would miss the sun rise but I wanted to reach the crest of the ridge as soon as possible for the spectacular view that I knew I would get from there. By 8 am I had reached the Dombachen ridge that reaches the summit from the south side. As expected the view was spectacular. The final push towards the summit along the ridge was the most difficult. At 9.20 am I was on the summit of mount Kanamo looking at the vast Tibetan plateau. Towards east was the beautiful summit of Cho cho kang nilda. After spending about 20 min I decided to start descending. Descending down was very quick and I got in the village of Kibber at five minutes to noon thus making this the fasted ascent of Mount Kanamo. This was confirmed from the informal knowledge of the local people interested in mountaineering. Ascending up Kanamo took me 5 hr 20 min and the descend took 2 hr 35 min with 20 min on the summit.

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Me climbing towards Kanamo, behind me is the Dombachen ridge
Me climbing towards Kanamo, behind me is the Dombachen ridge.

This trip was of great significance to me as I climbed my first Himalayan summit, I did it alone and in record time. Apart from the great feeling of achievement I had also accomplished something that I had planned a long time, but didnít have the opportunity to accomplish. It also gave me a start in mountaineering in the Himalayas.


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Well done on the ascent! And thanks for the trip report.
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hey nice article!!
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That's GREAT! I almost felt like I was there with you on this climb. I would love to know how you're able to get to the point where you're staying in this home in such a remote area. I would LOVE to do this someday! Thanks for the inspiration. I look forward to hearing more . . .

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Cool Story. Tell us more about the culture there?
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Nice article, an enjoyable read.

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