Mick Fowler climbing on Hagshu

Mick Fowler climbing on Hagshu

A pair of British climbers who were about to attempt a first ascent of a Himalayan mountain had a swift change of plans when they found another group of mountaineers already on the route.

Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden originally planned to post the first ascent of the north face of Hagshu, a 6,515m (21,375ft) peak in the Indian Himalaya.

But the pair, who have climbed together for years, said an administrative mix-up led to a Slovenian team taking the line they planned to use by the time they were acclimatised.

The British mountaineers turned their attention to the equally appealing north east face and successfully reached the summit on 6 October. They arrived back at base camp six days after setting out.

HM Revenue and Customs inspector Mick Fowler, dubbed the climbing taxman, said: “The call of Hagshu has been answered after more than 20 years.

Paul Ramsden, left, and Mick Fowler on the summit of Hagshu

Paul Ramsden, left, and Mick Fowler on the summit of Hagshu

“Our climb of the north-east face proved to be pleasingly memorable and, together with a traverse of the mountain, provided a fine six-day outing from base camp.

“Few mountains have an ascent history as curious as Hagshu. There have been four ascents to date and two within days of each other in 1989 and two within days of each other 25 years later. And all of them have been by different lines.

“And as seems to be becoming a habit for us, Paul and I couldn’t help but spot another urge giving objective while on the Hagshu trip. We spotted Kishtwar Kailash during our ascent of Shiva in 2012, and then were reminded of Hagshu’s presence while on Kishtwar Kailash last year.

“Now we have spotted something else of interest while on Hagshu. The Himalaya just keeps on giving. It’s a great time to be a Himalayan alpinist.”

Hagshu's summit ridge

Hagshu's summit ridge

Fowler, a British Mountaineering Council patron, and Ramsden were sponsored on the expedition by outdoor brand Berghaus and the Mount Everest Foundation.

During the expedition, the latest products from the Berghaus Extrem range were put to the test, including some which Fowler helped to develop with the company’s MtnHaus innovation team.

Fowler and Ramsden initially set out to climb the north face of Hagshu and had secured the permit to make that attempt. However, an apparent administrative mix-up provided an opening to the Slovenian team of Marko Prezelj, Luka Lindie and Ales Cesen, who were already established on the British team’s planned line.

Hagshu is the highest peak in East Kishtwar, and after numerous attempts it was first climbed, twice, in 1989. Between then and this year, it had been attempted on several occasions, but with no success.

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