Berghaus athletes Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden make first ascent of route on 6,000m Himalyan peak.
We've always liked the way Mick Fowler rolls. Unlike most sponsored climbers, he has a highly responsible, full time job working high up in the Inland Revenue and what's more, that's the way he likes it. It means, he once told us, that when he does get away on a big trip sandwiched between work commitments, it's a proper adventure.
Mick's latest proper adventure was the recent first ascent of a route on the poetically named Prow of Shiva, a 6,142m peak in the Pangi District of the Indian Himalaya. In Himalayan terms, 6,000 metres is barely a large hummock, but it sounds like the climbing was both technically hard and situationally stunning.
Fowler describes it as being reminiscent of mixed climbing on the Ben in winter, while Paul Ramsden labels the route as: '“The best climb I have ever done.”
'Brilliant Line, Likely To Be Rubbish Rock'
The climb which the pair graded ED (sup) - that's 'Scary Hard' in real words - took seven days to ascend with a further two days spent descending the unclimbed south east flank of the mountain. To make things more interesting, a lack of photographs of the side of the mountain the pair climbed meant they had only a rough advanced idea of its feasibility.
One eye witness prediction of the route read: 'Brilliant line but likely to be rubbish rock...' Gulp... a long way to fly for rubbish rock.
In the event, Fowler clearly enjoyed himself: 'Contrary to expectations, the rock on this amazing feature turned out to be top quality granite with the cracks liberally choked with ice,' he says. '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 wintry 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.'
Which sounds alright really. The pair also used the opportunity to test some of Berghaus's latest product developments in serious mountain conditions. In the past Fowler has been involved with the development of technical shells like the Asgard Jacket and also trialled hydrophobic down garments which he found to work really well in sustained expedition conditions where normal down tends to get progressively damper and less efficient with use.
You can find a full account of the expedition with some more images at www.berghaus.com/community/?p=8467.