Just back from climbing the Prow of Shiva (6142m) in India and ….wow! ….. what a fantastic trip.
Shiva is an isolated mountain and distant shots Paul Ramsden and I had seen suggested its prominent north facing Prow might give an exciting objective. Thereafter feedback from Italian and Russian teams that had actually seen the objective ranged from: ‘brilliant line but likely to be rubbish rock’ to ‘horrendously steep, might not be possible’.
It was then with some relief that our first sighting increased our urge to climb it rather than having the opposite effect. The line had everything that Paul and I look for in an objective. Major peak of the area, eye catching line, unclimbed, visible from afar, direct line to the summit, safe from objective danger, steep, technically challenging and finally potential for different descent route. We couldn’t immediately judge the rock or difficulty but first sighting prompted a mutual: – ‘Yeyy! We’ll be well pleased if we can climb this.’
And it just got better and better. After an enjoyably complex approach on glacial terrain the meat of the route turned out to be 4 days of spectacular climbing right out there on the crest of the Prow.
Contrary to expectations the rock on this amazing feature turned out to be top quality granite with the cracks liberally choked with ice. And the situations ranked alongside the best either of us have experienced in the Himalaya. In near perfect weather we enjoyed a bivouac on a hanging rock balcony with 2,000ft of space beneath our feet, memorably hard mixed climbing and thin, icy slabs reminiscent of the best wintery challenges on Ben Nevis. With the technical challenges stretching our ability success was in the balance until the final moment. It really couldn’t have been any better.
In all we enjoyed seven days of ascent and two days of descending the previously unclimbed south east flank. A 9 day round trip from base camp and a lifetime of retrospective pleasure ahead. Time now to focus on keeping the body in trim for East Tibet next year. All we need is the necessary permit – and ability!
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