Kishtwar Expedition 2019 10/06/2019
An expedition with Maud Vanpoulle and Lise Billon that didn’t go as planned and imagined, but still an incredible experience.
First of all we got stopped by the police in Gulabgarh the last village connected to the road. The officials in that little village to which we had already travelled 2 days by jeep prohibided us to go into the planned valley, because they were afraid of Terrorists hiding there. The recent tensions in Kashmir and the muslim population in the selected valley caused this decision. Also it didn’t help to be an all female team. How dangerous it realy was is hard to say and even the locals don’t agree. so we will never know it, but fact is we had to change our objective being in a village without cellphone or internet connection. Not an easy task, but luckily I knew the region from previous expeditions and we decided to go into a valley beside trying to open a new route on Kishtwar Shivling.
So we find ourselves approaching our new Base Camp through the Sumchan Valley, where the locals welcome us in a warm and simple way sharing their chapati, rice and dhal and their simple houses with us. Incredible experiences that make expeditions also to unique cultural journeys.
All these logistic challenges made us loose quite some time and reduced our days in base camp. In addition we were not lucky with the weather during our summit push: When we finally put on our climbing shoes and opened some new pitches on amazing, but super compact granite we got stopped by a not forecasted snowstorm and were forced to turn around at 5700m. Afterwards the weather did stay bad for a couple of days and then we had to hike back and the monson arrived. It wouldn’t be honest to tell that there is no frustration and deception, after so much effort put into an expedition, but it definitely was an incredible experience. Once again organizing an expedition without an agency, but with the help of our Indian friends, made it a lot more work, but also opened the doors for a unique cultural experience.