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On October 14th Stephan Siegrist (SUI), Julian Zanker (SUI), and Thomas Huber (GER) stood atop the granite giant in Kashmir. They are the fourth team that was able to climb this mountain via a spectacular line. Their goal was the yet unclimbed central north-west face of Cerro Kishtwar.

Climbing history on Cerro Kishtwar

In 1992 the two Englishmen Andy Perkins and Brendan Murphy tried to climb their way through the wall. They had to give up 100 meters below the summit after 17 days due to exhaustion. A year later their fellow landsmen Mick Fowler and Steve Sustad climbed by way of an ice chute in the left part of the wall to a notch at about 5600 meters and moved over into the slightly flatter east part of the mountain to reach the peak as the first team to do so. The mountains in Kashmir were then barred for all foreign alpinists for several years for military and political reasons. The ban was lifted early in 2010 and Stephan Siegrist, Denis Burdet, and David Lama made the first expedition into the mountain region in 2011.Their goal was to climb Cerro Kishtwar alpine style. They reached the summit as the second team ever via an ice track on the north-west side to the right of the distinctive granite wall. In 2015 Hayden Kennedy, Marco Prezelj, Manu Pellisier, and Urban Novak climbed the granite tower via the east wall alpine style and were awarded the Piolet d'Or for their ascent.

Siegrist, Huber, Zanker on Cerro Kishtwar

The team of three began their adventure in the Kashmiri Himalaya on September 7th. They reached base camp on September 13th. Best weather conditions left the team with no break and they were able to establish ABC on September 18th at 5050 meters. The team began their ascent of the wall on October 1st after several material transports. They weren't able to stick to their plan to complete their climb in five days. They discontinued their first attempt for tactical reasons and returned to base camp. They returned on October 8th with new strength and a fresh attitude, right back into the adventure! The weather was stable. The mornings were clear, clouds came in by noon, the afternoons brought snow. The team had to fight iced up cracks, spindrift, extreme cold with temperatures below -20° C, and difficult techno-climbing up to A3+. On summit day, October 14th, they were rewarded with a sunny day.

We almost felt like we weren't alone. Like we were being rewarded for everything we had to go through with this unique moment. We took the last meters together and we could hardly believe it. Cirrostratus clouds flew by in the jet stream 500 meters above us and we were standing there in the sun, in complete calm. We all knew that we were only able to make it because we felt like a courageous alliance together! Our route through the north-west wall of the Cerro Kishtwar will be named "Har-Har Mahadev." This saying is from Hindu mythology and dedicated to the god Lord Shiva: "Increase your moral values so you can overcome your fear to master dangerous situations!"

Or as we would say in Bavaria: "Get a grip!"

Short facts

The team partially used fixed ropes in the first part of the wall and established Camp 1 at „Snowledge“ on the foot of the granite wall at 5450 meters. They were able to reach pitch 7 after three days during their first attempt. They started their second attempt the next day on October 8th. They reached the summit seven days later. The team spent ten days in the wall in total. They established 4 camps: Camp 1 “Snowledge”, Camp 2 “Happyledge”, Camp 3 “Sunnyledge”, Camp 4 “Kempinski”.

First ascent of the central north-west face by Stephan Siegrist, Julian Zanker, and Thomas Huber on October 14th, 2017.
Route name: "Har Har Mahadev" from Hindu mythology meaning no less than: "Increase your moral values so you can overcome your fear to master dangerous situations!"
Grades: VII, A3+,6b, M6, 80°
First part: 400 meters ice and mixed
Second part: 600 meters rock and mixed, 24 pitches
Belays partially equipped with bolts
Drill holes in the pitches: 8 Bathooks and 7 rivets
Material used: 15 Bird Beaks in different sizes, 4 Baby Angels, 6 Lost Arrows, 4 knifeblades, stoppers, double set of Cams up to Nr.4
Portaledge: necessary
Descent: Rappel over the route

SCOTT Insuloft Light Down Jacket
SCOTT Insuloft Light Down Jacket


Couloir 2 Helmet
Couloir 2 Helmet


SCOTT Explorair Spring Glove
SCOTT Explorair Spring Glove


SCOTT Superguide 105 Ski
SCOTT Superguide 105 Ski


Photography: Timeline Productions