Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saltoro Kangri the highest mountain #31 in the world

Saltoro Kangri is the highest peak of the Saltoro Mountains, better known as the Saltoro Range, which is a minor range of the Karakoram. It is one of the highest mountains on Earth, but it is in a very remote location deep in the Karakoram.

Saltoro Kangri lies in a region controlled by India on the southwestern side of the Siachen Glacier.

Notable features

Saltoro Kangri is the 31st highest independent mountain in the world. In addition, it rises dramatically above the Pakistani-controlled valleys of the Kondus and Saltoro Rivers to the west of the peak (draining eventually into the Indus River.) Due to danger from military operations, Saltoro Kangri is little visited. Areas just to the west are controlled by Pakistan, to the east by India.

Climbing history

The mountain was reconnoitered by the intrepid Workman couple in 1911-12.

The first attempt on the peak was in 1935 by a British expedition led by J. Waller, which reached c.24500' on the SE ridge.

A British university expedition led by Eric Shipton approached this peak through the Bilafond La via Pakistan with a Pakistani climbing permit. They recced the peak but did not attempt it. This expedition was inadvertently the first move in the deadly game of Siachen oropolitics that would lead to the Siachen conflict of 1984.

The first ascent of Saltoro Kangri was in 1962, by a joint Japanese-Pakistani expedition led by T. Shidei. This piggyback expedition put A. Saito, Y. Takamura and Pakistani climber R.A. Bashir on top on July 24, following the S.E. ridge route.

US maps of the area in the 1960s showed the Line of Control between Pakistani and Indian territory running from the last defined point in the 1949 Agreement, NJ9842, to the Karakoram Pass (held by India), thus putting the whole of Saltoro Kangri and the entire Siachen Glacier in Pakistan, even though the boundary was undemarcated from NJ9842 northwards. This appears to have been an error.

The Himalayan Index lists only one more ascent of the mountain, in 1981, and no other attempts.


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