Karakoram Maitri Expedition

By Divyesh Muni divyesh.muni@gmail.com | 2011

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I did this trip in August 2005 after recovering from Mumbai''s worst floods during which my house got flooded. We reached Leh on Aug 1. There were 7 Americans and 8 Indians in this group. To read trip article on Himalayan Club site http://www.himalayanclub.org/journal/maitri-in-the-karakoram/. You see an overview of Leh.

You see evening light on Shantistupa Leh. Our objective of the trip was to climb and explore in the Satti Valley. It is called a ''Maitri Expedition'' - Maitri in Hindi means friendship.

You see Argan Kangri from Khardung La.

You see Satti village - Green Oasis. We pitched camp at Satti village (3245 m). From here, our approach march would lead us along the Spangchenmo river to the snout of the Lung Tung glacier where we planned to establish base camp.

Bird''s eye view of Nubra Valley and Shayok river. The river cut a deep gorge and fell 500 m to the Nubra valley before joining the Shyok. We would therefore have to climb 900 m up the side of the gorge before dropping 400 m into the valley.

Kids in Satti Valley.

U see the trail to the base camp. On the 8th we recced the area for a base camp. At two places, we came across petroglyphs (etching in the rock of animals and birds). It was fascinating, since there was no record of any habitation in the valley.

The team at base camp. On 9 August, BC was set up on the lateral moraine at the junction of the Lung Tung glacier with several other smaller unnamed glaciers flowing in from all directions.

Evening beauty. It is for scenes like these that I love the Himalayas.

Evening beauty. It is for scenes like these that I love the Himalayas.

Divyesh on the Rekki of Lung Tung glacier.

Glacier pools amidst rocks. From base camp we could assess the various glaciers on the peaks around us ie Satti Kangri 6639m, Thongsa Ri 5899m and Karpo Kangri 6540m.

The white expanse of camp 1.

Camp 1 - Lung Tung glacier.

Climbing on Thongsa Ri 5899m. The peak means ''look out''.

View towards camp 1 while on Thongsa Ri.

High mountains of Lung Tung valley.

Climbers on the top of Karpo Kangri Face. The route considered most feasible was up the large ice slope flowing down from the central summit. The route was steep and interspersed with several icefalls but appeared to be the safest bet.

"Close up of the Karpo Kangri face, climbing the peak is our primary objective. Previously photographed from its nearly opposite aspect, we now see it from this southern side. It is beautiful no matter how you look at it. It is at the same time intimidating and inviting."

Advancing towards the Col - pass.

On North Lung Tung Col - pass (6040 metres).

Atop Rdung Ring 6082 m- Vineeta, Divyesh, Ameya and Rajesh. Rdung Ring was a small peak on the dividing ridge between the Arganglas valley and the Lung Tung glacier.

Nay Kangri.

View of Buk Buk Peak (6289 m) from Thonga Rai (5899 m).

Frozen Magic - Verglass. This is a thin layer of water that freezes on the rock.

U see Water God. Nearby, the Rongdu had forged a tunnel through the rock and formed a ferocious waterfall. The campsite appeared to have religious significance to the locals.

Mani Stone carving in Nubra Valley.

"Mask Dance Portrait - Ladakh Festival. Note the masks has skulls in top portion. Thus the Indo – American Karakoram Maitri expedition 2005 climbed in the remote valleys of East Karakoram. Peaks in the Lung Tung valley were climbed and surrounding valleys were explored. "