Janhukot Climbed, British team makes first successful ascent

Dream Wanderlust | Jun 15 , 2018

The highest unclimbed peak in the Gangotri Glacier Complex is now finally climbed. Malcolm Bass, Paul Figg and Guy Buckingham have made the first ascent of Janhukot (6805m) a remote, unclimbed peak at the upper end of the Gangotri Glacier (Garhwal Himalaya), via a technical route on the South West buttress leading to the elegant and complex South Ridge. They reached the summit on 6th June and descended to Base Camp over the next 2 days completing an 8 day round trip. 19km of rough glacial travel separated the foot of the route from Base Camp and this added to the difficulty and allure of climbing this hidden mountain.


Janhukot South West Buttress PC:Hamish Frost/Coldhouse

After the successful 1st ascent, Leader of the expedition team Malcolm Bass said to Dream Wanderlust: "We are very excited to have climbed Janhukot. Its remote situation at the head of the beautiful Gangotri Glacier makes it a special mountain in our eyes. Snow and ice melting on its flanks eventually flow into the Ganga. We are honoured to have made the latest step in the exploration of Janhukot and we owe much to the work of previous explorers of the mountain, Anindya Mukherjee, Bryan Hylenski, Pat Deavoll, Marty Beare, Andy Brown, and especially Simon Yearsley who climbed so high with Malcolm in 2014."

"The main ingredients of our success were good weather and teamwork. We had good weather on every day we were on the mountain except summit day! We three climbers worked very well as a team, everyone played their part in the climbing, and in bivouac life. We were very well supported by our Liaison Officer Vikram Ghiyal and by our Base Camp team. Our Nepali porter team were very efficient in carrying up to a well situated Base Camp at Sundenvan," Malcolm explained the reason behind the success.


From L to R: Paul Figg, Malcolm Bass, Guy Buckingham PC: Guy Buckingham

Malcolm's team reached summit via South West buttress to South Ridge. 3000m, 1700m vertical. ED1. Scottish IV and made descent via South Ridge to South East Ridge to couloir into the eastern glacial basin on 6th June, 2018. This difficult mountain is located beyond Shivling (6543m), at the end of the long Gangotri Glacier, 19km beyond Base Camp.

Janhukot has always attracted mountaineers from all over the world but prior to this none of them have managed to make it to the top till its first ascent on 6th June, 2018. In 1989 Indian climbers Prashanta Roy, Atanu Chatterjee, Sushanta Majumder, Dibya Mukherjee made an attempt. In 2002 an Austrian team was forced to give up due to heavy snowfall. Malcolm Bass and Paul Figg along with Andy Brown reached 6000m on the SW buttress on their 1st attempt in 2004. Pat Deavoll and Marty Beare from New Zealand reached 6400m via the main couloir on the West Face. A group of American and Indian climbers led by Bryan Hylenski and Anindya Mukherjee then made attempts in 2010 and 2011 from the East Side.  A. Jake Preston had also attempted in 2011. Malcolm attempted for the second time in 2014 along with Simon Yearsley via the South West buttress to reach 6640m. In 2016 Hylenski and John Miller tried but failed to reach the summit.


Malcolm Bass and Paul Figg celebrating reaching the Summit of Janhukot PC: Guy Buckingham

"On a personal level I have been exploring the Gangotri region since 1992, when I climbed Yogeshwar with Julian Clamp and Simon Yearsley. But the rarely seen, remote cirque of summits at the head of the Gangotri Glacier, the Chaukhambas and Janhukot, had continued to elude me until this trip. It has taken us many years to learn how best to climb in this place, and we have made many mistakes along the way. But my time at Sundenvan and on the far reaches of the Gangotri Glacier, the friendships, the conversations, the tribulations overcome together, and the enormity of the landscape, have shaped me as deeply as anything else in my life." Malcom added.


Descending from the Summit PC: Guy Buckingham

Expedition timeline:
For detailed expedition report Click Here

The trip started with a 3 day acclimatisation climb to 5600m on Kedar Dome just behind Base Camp.

1st June: The team along with liaison officer, UK photographer Hamish Frost, and a HAP set off up the Gangotri glacier. They took 2 days to cover the 18km to the foot of the South West buttress.

3rd June: Team set off around at 00:30 and managed to reach close to the sanctuary of their planned bivouac spot at 5900m (a gain of 800m vertical metres).

4th June: Team managed another 300m of ascent and halted there for the night.

5th June: They eventually reached the top of the buttress and onto the South Ridge situated at 6500m.

6th June: Team reached the summit at around 17:00.

7th June: Team reached ABC.

8th June: Team reached Base Camp after crossing the 18km melting glacier.

Expedition Members: Malcolm Bass (Leader), Paul Figg (Climber), Guy Buckingham (Climber), Hamish Frost (Photographer), Vikram Ghiyal (Liaison Officer), Anoop Tamang (Rimo Expeditions Sirdar), Santabir Sherpa (Chef)
Pemba Sherpa (High Altitude Porter), Hari Singh (Cook's assistant)

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