Mustang AND PALDOR
a clear day the Mustang, with the icy fangs of Pabil
(7,101m/23,300ft), Lobsang Karpo (7,150m/23,458ft), GI (7,406m/
24,298ft) and GV (6,950m/22,802ft) can be seen forming an
imposing backdrop to the north- west of Kathmandu. Paldor,
which can just be picked out from the mass of shapely summits,
was first climbed by Bill Talman, Peter Lloyd, Tenzing Sherpa
and Da Namgyal during the monsoon of 1949 by the North-East
Ridge, although it must be said that it is difficult to
fit Tilman’s description to the actual route.
lies at the south- east end of the Mustang marking
the junction of the Tiru and Khurpu Dandas at the head at
the head of the Mailung Khola, a tributary of the Trisuli
The quickest route of approaches is via the new road as
far as Syabrubensi in the Trisuli Valley, about eight hours
by regular Bus or private transport from Kathmandu. Above
Syabrubensi the trail is followed steep up hill towards
the Gtlang crossing the Karpu Danda via a small col. It
then heads northward along the ridge before dropping into
the forest above the Mailung Khola to pick up the newly
built road that leads to an army post. Beyond this the trail
climbs, via a big mine at the head of the valley. Above
and beyond is base camp in a moraines filled valley below
the South Face or Paldor. This can be covered in less than
a week from Kathmandu.
is a direct route to the mine at Lari, the follows the Mailung
Khola, taking about five days from Trisuli. A much more
interesting and enjoyable approach is the trek from Sundarijal
to Gosaikund and Sybru, described in the chapter on Naya
Kanga and the Langtang. Following this trek it takes five
days to reach Syabru.
Day 6: Syabru to Thangjet
Syabru a trail descends north west above the Langtang Khola
to the bridge at Syabrubensi. Follow the path through Syabrubensi
(1,462m/4,800ft) toward the Bhote Kosi. Across the river,
on the hillside opposite, the desolation left by the building
of the new road is well in evidence. Cross the Bhote Kosi
by the suspension bridge just beyond the village –
this might still be in need of some new planking. However,
the largest holes are capped by larger stones and where
these are missing the views of the river, a long way below,
is quite moving!
the route traversing around the foot of the spur into the
valley of the chilime Khola. Cross the river by a suspension
bridge to the north bank and follow a path upstream to another
large suspension bridge by which you re-cross to the south
bank, passing through Gholjong Sango, where the valley now
widens. The trail follows a well- engineered water channel
and leads eventually to Thangjet (1,676m/5,500ft), near
the confluence of the Chilime and Brindong Kholas. Surprisingly,
this fairly large village is not marked on the recent Schneider
trail is said to exist that crosses the Jarsa Danda to Thangjet,
but I couldn’t find it and in any case the new road
may have spoilt that particularly way. Local help should
be sought with regard to the road.
7: THANGJET TO YURI KHARKA CAMP
people of the Brindong Khola’s main village of Gatlang
(2,438m/8000 ft), are a colourful and interesting community.
They appears to be a mixture of Tamangs and a more recent
trail climbs steeply through terraced hillsides to Gatlang,
passing mani-walls piled with carved stones and lotus flower
mandalas. Gatlang is the crowded village with stone built
houses huddled together. Beyond the Gatlang the trail enters
into forest; permits may be checked at an army post below
Yuri Kharka, a small clearing with running water.
8: YURI KHARKA TO CAMP BELOW LARI MINE
the kharka the trail continues through the forest climbing
steeply to a notch, the Khurpadanda Banjyang (3,739m/12,267ft),
shown as Paldol Bhanjyang on some maps. From the ridge there
are fine views from the Annapurnas in the west to the Langtang
and beyond in the east. On the far side of the Mailung Khola
is the ridge of the Tiru Danda and the pass of Pansing Bhanjyang.
These provide the best walk- out from Paldor.
the Kurpa Danda Bhanjyang follow a path north along the
crest at first and then traverse the steep hillside on the
west flank. The path is quite spectacular in places but
soon descends into the pine forest to meet the new road.
Follow the road for a while, which is extended to the army
post at Samathang where there is a radio; we found the soldiers
to be a friendly and chatty bunch. There are several campsite
possibilities close to the trail at this point.
9: LARI MINE CAMP TO BASE CAMP
steeply to the mine at Lari which has a variety of buildings
and tramways. Beyond the mine, climb steeply above the gorge
of the river. The path, quite rocky in places, climbs between
outcrops and traverses north-eastwards to a small valley
bounded by moraines below the glacier of Paldor. Base camp
can be sited here, below the confluence of the Paldor West
and Paldor East glacier just north of a fine rock pinnacle
that Cleare called ‘Neddy’s thumb’, at
an altitude of 4,500 meters (14,900 feet).
CLIMBING IN THE PALDOR AREA
area around Paldor provides an ideal location for an alpine
– style climbing holiday. There are several lower
peaks, both rock and ice, that provide good climbing in
a long day from base camp or a high camp.
the high camp the routes on the mountain are not long, although
all have some technical interest, usually on snow or ice.
Tilman’s Ridge is marginally the easiest climb. Both
the North- east and South-east Ridges can be climbed from
the same high camp on the Paldor Glacier East.
– EAST RIDGE (TILMAN’S RIDGE)
base camp, follow a path below the conspicious moraine on
its east side as far as Paldor Tarn. Here there is a small
and inconspicuous lake to the south of the peak called Fang.
Cross the stream issuing from the lake and aim for the east
ridge of Fang. This boulders slope is the Paldor Glacier
east at an altitude of 5,200 meters (17,060ft), in a magnificent
amphitheatre of alpine – scale peaks. The glacier
at this point is flat and uncomplicated by crevasses.
high camp follow the Paldor Glacier, East, without difficulty,
north towards a col on the North – East Ridge. Cross
the bergscrund and climb a steep snow slope to gain the
col. This may be very difficulty, in which case ascend the
slope to the left, climbing diagonally towards a rocky pinnacle.
Once on the ridge, climb over several pinnacles of loose
rock leading to a horizontal snow arête that narrows
dramatically. Follow this foot of the final 150 meters (492
feet) headwall. Ascend this on steep snow to the junction
of the South- East Ridge, which may be corniced. Continue
easily to the summit. This is Alpine AD climbing and takes
five to seven hours from high camp.
SOUTH – EAST RIDGE
Cleare and Ian Howell first climbed this in 1974. Between
Tilman’s ascent in 1949 and Cleare’s expedition
of 1974 it is possible that Paldor had no other ascents.
Since then the mountain has received more attention and
many new routes added.
route climbs the long snow and ice arête that descends
to the fine rock peak of Fang. The lowest point of this
ridge is best reached, from a high camp on the Paldor Glacier
East, by a steep snow and ice slope (55 degrees). The ridge
has also been reached via a potential avalanche couloir
from the Paldor Glacier West. The ridge is above is followed,
in places quite steeply, but without major difficulty to
combination of both these routes has been made as a traverse
and is highly recommended.
SOUTH- WEST BUTTRESS
Allen made the first ascent of the South- west face via
the Central Buttress in 1986, although most of the route
had been climbed previously by sherpas.
is the route of little technical difficulty and poor protection.
Serac fall danger is reported to be minimal. From a high
camp below the face ascend the right – hand side of
the central buttress, avoiding rock steps to reach the spur
which connects the buttress to the face. Follow this to
join the upper face (45-50 degrees) which is then followed
to the summit, ascending diagonally rightward to avoid the
bergscrund. This was in under three hours on the first ascent.
ascent was by Nick Yardley, Gareth Yardley and Dave O’Dowd
on 6 November 1986.
high camp on the Paldor Glacier West cross the bergscrund
to gain the col below the ridge where theTiru Danda in fact
abuts on to the South-West Face of Paldor.
the col a snow arête is followed until it merges with
the face. Above, snow gullies which are steep in places
(55 degrees) are followed for 200 meters after which you
weave through broken rocky outcrops to reach a final slope
leading to the west shoulder. From the shoulder a ridge
is then followed to the summit, which was reached after
three hours climbing from a high camp.
snow arête leads from the col and merges into the
face. Snow gullies are followed for 200 meters until a series
of broken rock outcrops leads to the final snow slope. The
ridge above is followed to the top. Technically straightforward
but poorly protected with some loose rock.
CLIMBS IN THE PALDOR AREA
area around the Paldor base camp has numerous small peaks
around 5000 meters in height that have provided some interesting
climbing with scope for exploring new lines. The peaks are
both unnamed and unmarked on official maps and the names
used are those given by the first ascensionists. They are
given here to complete the picture of climbing in the area
and as climable viewpoints of relatively low altitude do
not require a permit.
is the obvious rock peak terminating the South- east ridge
of Paldor and is separated from it by the col which has
to be gained when making as ascent of the Cleare/Howell
ridge. It is a pleasant climb over mixed ground although
there is a certain amount of loose rock.
From a high camp on the Paldor Glacier East cross snow slopes
to gain the South Ridge of Fang above the first pinnacle,
after which the ridge is followed passing a series of pinnacles
both to left and right until the summits is gained.
can be made down the East Face by an awkward 50 meters abseil
from the summit into a couloir from which the East Glacier
is easily gained. In all it takes about five hours for the
round trip. The first ascent was made by Nick Yardley and
PHATA’S OEAK (5,110M/16,765FT), SOUTH RIDGE
seen from base camp this peak lies on the Tiru Danda Ridge,
and is the highest visible point west of Paldor. The mountain
can be climbed easily from base camp by its south ridge
in about three hours. A good training climb.
(5,500M/18,045FT), SOUTH FACE
climbed in 1980 by sir George Bishop, the peak of Paldor
West is not visible from base camp. Paldor west lies to
the north of and is obscured by Phuta’s Peak.
It is probably best to use a high camp on the Paldor Glacier
West. This is highly crevassesd and should be treated with
respect. From this camp its South Face can climb the peak
easily, which is a scary and rock slope.
Between Phuta’s Peak and Paldor West are numerous
rock pinnacles that would provide interesting sport.
is an attractive mountain which lies to the south- east
of the ice-fall descending from the Paldor Glacier East.
Its southern ridges form the eastern boundary of the cirque
in which the high camp for Paldor lies. Fang guards this
ice fall to the north-west. Pema’s Peak guards it
to the south-east.
WEST GLACIER AND SOUTH RIDGE
ascent was by T.Leggett, H.G. Nicol, A. Wedgwood and Ang
Danu in 1984. from base camp climb a wide, easy scree filled
gully to the east of base camp and directly opposite to
it. At 4,800 metres (15,748 feet), you reach a small, fattened
hump which from below looks like a peak. At this point turn
north and follow the obvious line of screefilled valley
which lies between the Pema’s Peak South Ridge on
the right, forming the right hand skyline, and the broken
ridge on the left, which overlies the base camp. The little
valley is unmistakable and leads without incident to Pema’s
Peak West Glacier. The foot of this glacier could also be
reached direct by ascending a steep scree-filled gully which
climbs up to it from the boulder fields just to the north
of base camp, but this looks unpleasant.
on crampons and follow this glacier without incident or
difficulty to the col at its summit. Turn north-west and
climb the ridge to the summit. Standard Alpine PD, which
can be climbed in four hours on the first ascent.
the base camp follow the route to Paldor high camp on the
Paldor Glacier East. At 5,200 meters (17,060 feet), the
glacier is relatively uncrevassed and can be crossed easily.
Cross it to the east side below Bodkin Peak. At this point
turn south, contour round the easy glacier, climb a short
snow slope and so ascend easily to Pema’s summit
NEDDY’S THUMB (4,900M/16,076FT)
is the first peak to be seen of the Paldor group as you
approach the area from the south up the Mailung Khola. It
forms and impressive rock peak rising above and to the south
of base camp. Due to the nature of the rock the best climbs
are to be found on the South Face.