Snow Views in Rupshu

Trekking peaks abound in the Tso Kar/Tso Moriri area, and as we find it hard to resist a nice high altitude trek it had always been our plan to try climbing a few.

But we hadn’t reckoned with the fickle Rupshu weather. September is meant to be a good, stable month, weather wise, but this was not so in 2012. Every day we had sun, every day we had rain. Most days we saw hail, and many nights snow fell.

In the event we only climbed one peak, the 6,390m Spangnak Ri. Steep scree slopes covered in fresh snow made for slow, tiring, going, and at the top the cloud was so thick that we were having to prod the ground with our ice axes to check it was indeed snow and not just thin air. Summit photos are unspectacular.

Five days later we set off to climb 6,500m Chalung to the north of Tso Moriri, but suffering from colds we turned back, still on our way to a high camp, when the hail and snow rolled in. We felt like wimps, but (Neil) just didn’t fancy a trudge up in powder snow when the prospects of a nice view from the summit weren’t that high.

The summit of Spangnak Ri (6,391m)
Pike on the summit of Spangnak Ri. Well, we’re 90% sure it was the summit (it was where Google Earth said the highest point was) though the poor visibility meant we couldn’t see very far along the ridge to see if there was a higher rocky outcrop.

Descending from Spangnak Ri
On the descent it cleared for a while, so we had some views as we trudged down through the powder snow. The weather continued to change though, and a storm broke just as we made it back to our tent, meaning there was a bit of lightning and thunder around for a while.

Descending in the fresh snow.

Slip on the descent from Spangnak Ri
Powder snow on steep scree made for a few slips and spills. Here’s Haz modelling her home made anti-balling plates. Sadly one of her left ones fell off on the climb.

Pushing back to the road from Chalung (out of shot – the mountain in the picture is about 6,300m). Like we had done many times in the Andes when climbing mountains we pushed our bikes off the road and just dumped them behind rocks before heading off on foot with rucksacks. This time we only had to push about 500m off the very quiet road to Tso Moriri – fortunately this is one of the few very sparsely inhabited areas of India!

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