Alpine Club president Mick Fowler and his climbing partner Paul Ramsden have returned triumphant from the Himalaya after posting a first route on a technically difficult remote mountain.
The man dubbed the Climbing Taxman – Fowler is an HM Revenue and Customs officer – made the first ascent of the Prow of Shiva, a 6,142m (20,151ft) peak in the Pangi District of the Indian Himalaya.
Mr Ramsden described the climb as the best he had ever done.
The Berghaus sponsored athlete, celebrating 30 years of climbing, completed the route with Paul Ramsden over seven days earlier this month and then descended the unclimbed south east flank in a further two days. The pair tested some of the company’s latest product developments during the expedition.
Shiva lies in the area of Lahaul in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and is remote and not easy to get to.
The mountain was first climbed in 1988 by Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Everest, but the side that Fowler and Ramsden climbed is even more distant and its viability was unclear as little photography of it was available ahead of the trip.
The route presented Fowler and Ramsden with one of the most enjoyable climbs they can recall, with the latter describing it as ‘the best climb I have ever done’.
The Extremely Difficult+ grade route featured spectacular climbing on high quality granite leading directly to the summit.
Mick Fowler said: “Contrary to expectations, the rock on this amazing feature turned out to be top quality granite with the cracks liberally choked with ice.
“And the situations ranked alongside the best either of us has 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.”
There are more details on Mick Fowler’s blog on the Berghaus website.