Mick Fowler on Shiva in 2012

Mick Fowler on Shiva in 2012

A former Alpine Club president is planning to climb a taxing route never before successfully ascended in the Himalaya.

Mick Fowler, who works for HM Revenue and Customs, will be joined on his expedition to the North Face of Hagshu by his regular climbing partner Paul Ramsden.

The pair will attempt the first ascent of a route that defeated an ex-SAS member in the late 80s.

The 6,515m (21,375ft) peak lies in the East Kishtwar region of the Indian Himalaya and has only been climbed twice, in the same year 25 years ago. The North Face route has never been successfully scaled.

A spokesperson for outdoor brand Berghaus, which is sponsoring the Climbing Taxman’s expedition, along with the Mount Everest Foundation, said: “Hagshu is to Kishtwar what the Matterhorn is to Zermatt.

“According to the latest Indian survey, it is the highest peak in East Kishtwar, and after numerous attempts it was first climbed – twice – in 1989. Despite many attempts since, there have been no further ascents.

“The North Face remains unclimbed and is renowned as a major outstanding mountaineering challenge in that part of the Himalaya.

“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the North Face of Hagshu was the target of several expeditions led by John Barry, ex-SAS mountaineer and one-time head of Plas-y-Brenin.

Hagshu seen from the South. It is the highest peak, centre, on the horizon

Hagshu seen from the South. It is the highest peak, centre, on the horizon

“The high point of these trips was about half way up the face. Regional political troubles effectively prevented access between 1993 and 2010. Hagshu has been attempted at least three times since then with no success.”

Mick Fowler said: “I first spotted Hagshu when making the first ascent of nearby Cerro Kishtwar in 1993 and was reminded what an eye-catching peak it is last year while on Kishtwar Kailash with Paul.

“This spectacular North Face is now a plum objective in that part of the world and we are very pleased to have been promised a permit to attempt it by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.”

He has a full-time job and fits in his climbing trips around the work he does for HM Revenue and Customs. For Hagshu, Fowler has assembled the same team that was successful on Shiva in 2012. He will be accompanied by regular expedition partner Paul Ramsden, with Steve Burns and Ian Cartwright also climbing and providing essential back up. They plan to head out in mid-September.

The expedition will use the latest products from the Berghaus Extrem range, some of which Fowler helped to develop with the company’s MtnHaus, including new designs featuring waterproof and breathable Hydroshell fabric.

Berghaus said it will report the team’s progress on its website and on social media.

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