Swiss mountaineers Hugo Béguin, Matthias Gribi and Nathan Alexandre Monard made the first ascent of the unclimbed north face of Flat Top (6057 m), in the Kishtwar region, India. Called “Tomorrow is Another Day,” the 1,400m trail is climbed alpine style from October 3-7 and climbs to ED, WI4, M6, A2, 5c. This is believed to be only the third ascent of the mountain.
A Swiss expedition consisting of Hugo Béguin, Matthias Gribi, and Nathan Alexandre Monard succeeded in climbing the pristine north face of Flat Top (6100 m) in the Kishtwar region, India. Called “Tomorrow is another day”, the 1,400m line crosses the difficulty to ED, WI4, M6, A2, 5c.
The three mountain climbers started their climb at the end of September from Sonder village and walked for 3 days before setting up base camp at an altitude of 3750 m, at the foot of the Kishtwar Eiger. They acclimated by climbing next to the Kishtwar Eiger, staying overnight at 5,000m and climbing the glacier to about 5,700m without reaching any peaks. After resting at base camp, they headed to Flat Top’s north side base where they established ABC before returning to British Columbia.
After a false start on September 30 due to unexpected snowfall, the three returned to ACBC on October 2. They woke up at 4am to start climbing, but because the surface was covered in splashes and small landslides, they waited until 11am for the sun to set and the wind to die down. They started at the center of the face, next to some excellent icefalls, and climbed a small snow ridge for 200m before setting up camp 1.
The second day saw them navigate several steep ice falls, not without difficulty considering the thin ice and “open and sketchy” climbing, but ultimately leading to deep snow slopes and some mixed pitches. The first stage is not particularly difficult but progress is slow due to deep and heavy snow, while the final stage, on steep rocky terrain, seems impossible at first. Here the three were forced to help and, without leaving any equipment behind, they finally set up Camp 2 on a snowy slope, about 700 m above sea level, in the middle of the surface and close to the clearly visible path on the right.
Day three begins with a more basic climb through slabs covered in up to 50 cm of fresh snow, leading up steep and technical rock and ice slopes to the top of the spur. The original plan was to reach the final snow slope of the day, but the climb proved so demanding that they were forced to bivouac 250 m below the snow slope. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find a place to pitch their tent so they spent the night sitting on a small snow bank, their legs dangling in the air. Situated 1,100m above the valley floor, it was “not our best night”.
The next morning they wake up, or, “more precisely, we wake up”, at 4 a.m. and continued their previous journey, traversing steep and rocky technical terrain throughout the day. They reached the last slope before sunset; Loaded with ice, not snow, they quickly headed for the summit, which they marked in the dark around 7 p.m.
After the summit photo ritual, they started descending the west side of the mountain. Because it was covered in ice, they made abalakov anchor on 15 rappels and managed to get down there without fear. At 2 am they set foot on the glacier and made their final bivouac, while on October 7 they descended towards ABC by crossing the glacier and following the snow corridor. In the afternoon, they returned to base camp with all their gear, “leaving nothing behind and very satisfied with our climb.”
Their timing was perfect. After their ascent, bad weather occurred, stranding them at base camp for several days. The horses arrived on the morning of 14 October and after a short journey, they reached Nanth village in the evening, where they spent the night. On the 15th, they reached Sonder and headed for Kishtwar.
Tomorrow is another day
ED, 1400m, WI4, M6, A2, 5c
October 2: departure from BC
3 October: start of climb, bivouac 200m above ground level
4 October: long day of steep ice climbing and tough mixed terrain, bivouac 700 m above the base
5 October: rocky day at the top, bivouac located at 1100m opposite
October 6: summit day, rocky pitches and final snowy slopes, descent via the cold west face, bivouac on the glacier at the base of the west face
October 7: Descend to our advanced base camp and return to base camp
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