The first to do so, three Swiss alpinists have scaled three nearly 6,000-metre peaks in the Kashmir region of the Indian Himalayas.
Mountaineers Stephan Siegrist, Dres Abegglen and Thomas Senf were part of a pioneering expedition team that was drawn to the area by a mountain that bore a striking resemblance to Switzerland’s Matterhorn. They reached the top of this 5,900-metre peak on September 13 and called it Bhala due to its spear-like shape.
According to Siegrist, the climb was far from easy as the team had no information about the mountain, including how tall it actually was and where to set up base camps. To add to the challenge, the weather conditions were not good, the rock was brittle and the risk of falling stones and ice was high.
The team followed up the ascent of Bhala with that of Tupendeo (5,700m) and Te (5,900m). Besides the climb, the whole expedition was a true exploratory endeavour in the sense that the maps the team had access to were inaccurate – with whole mountain ranges appearing in the wrong place.
“For me, however, this is exactly the charm of such an expedition,” said Siegrist. “I like all the trappings; it [was] a real expedition, a departure into the unknown.”