In India, with six miles standing between us and the base of Brammah I I, our work was just beginning
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In early September, Jeff Shapiro and I left the States and headed for the Northwest corner of India in search of unclimbed lines. Our research led us to Kishtwar National Park in the Kashmir region. Having been closed to foreigners for nearly 20 years and having only been open since 2012, we were excited to see what the area held.
Ten days of travel in various forms put us at our base camp. With six miles standing between us and the base of Brammah II, our work was just beginning. We spent the next week looking for access through the glacier to the base of our route. Eventually we found a safe passage to gain the mountain where we hoped a nice line would be.
Nice weather gave way to some rain, but there was a high pressure forecasted. When the weather broke, Jeff and I headed for Brammah II. Without having seen the South Face yet, we hoped our efforts would lead us to a good route. It took two days to reach the South Face and when we did, we were treated to a great view and a fine route.
Temperatures were dangerously warm so we began climbing at three in the morning to avoid falling hazards. As we climbed with urgency to avoid dangers, the glacier below us fell into the distance. By late afternoon, Jeff and I were high on the face, thirsty, tired, and in need of rest. I led a pitch to the ridgeline and found a perfect bivy site. At 20,000 feet we settled in for the night, enjoying the amazing sunset.
Up early the next morning we began racing to the summit. Snow, ice, and rock passed beneath us as we inched our way upward. Eventually we were positioned just below the summit. As the sun was setting, I led my way to the top. Finally on top, I soaked in my surroundings and belayed Jeff up to me. While the sun started to fade behind the horizon, Jeff and I enjoyed the beauty of the Himalayas.
We rappelled into the night and through the next morning to reach the glacial basin. Two more days of descending got us back to base camp where we could finally relax and reflect on our adventure. The first ascent of the South Face of Brammah II via a route we called “Pneuma” (VI AI4, M5, 1300m).
Jeff Shapiro climbing early on day 1.
Jeff Shapiro climbing the South Face of Brammah II in Kishtwar, India.
Jeff Shapiro high on the South Face of Brammah II in Kishtwar, India.
Jeff Shapiro maxing his pack out on the approach to Brammah II.
Chris Gibisch enjoying a morning brew on the South face of Brammah II.
Chris Gibisch on day two of the approach, working his way to Brammah II in unseasonably warm temperatures.
Chris Gibisch demonstrating disaster style packing with the La Sportiva G2 SM Mountaineering boot in tow.
Photos 1-4: Chris Gibisch
Photos 5-7: Jeff Shapiro