Area: East Karakoram

Height: 6794 m

Team: Indian (Indian Navy)

Leader: Cdr. Satyabrata Dam


Peak Climbed: Saser Kangri IV (7364 m) was climbed by Lt Amit Pande, Surg Lt Viking Bhanoo, MCERA Rajkumar and Sange Puri on 22nd September 2003 and by Cdr S Dam and Pema on 23 rd September. The team reached around 7300 m on Saser Kangri I, before giving up the attempt due to extreme objective hazards and inclement weather.


The Indian Navy team flew in to Leh on 26 th August and after initial acclimatisation reached the road head of Panamik on 30 th. The opening of trail along the Phukpoche Lungpa commenced on 31 st August. Several loads of vital equipment were lost on the way to Base Camp. The team established Base Camp on 4 th September at 4750 m close to the camp sights of earlier expeditions. It was late for climbing in East Karakoram and the place was intensely cold that only worsened as the days progressed. Following the cairns placed by the earlier teams, the Indian Navy team established ABC at 5360 m on the central moraine of South Phukpoche glacier on 8 th September. The weather was very bad and remained so for the entire expedition. They opened route through the crevasse-infested glacier, facing zero visibility and avalanches over the next four days and established C1 at 5880 m on 12 th September. Avalanches from the Plateau peak and the Saser west face constantly besieged C1. One massive avalanche passed over C1, burying tents and equipment on 13 th . The route opening through the dreaded west ridge and rock band took a tremendous effort from the team, and finally the route was opened on 18 th September. C2 was established on the ice field beyond west ridge at 7000 m on 20 th September. Immediately, the team started further route opening for Saser Kangri I ridge and to their utter dismay, they discovered a huge crevasse field above C2, directly on the way to the Col that leads to the ridge. This was the crux of the climb to Saser Kangri I. The team managed to reach around 7300 m at the Col , before abandoning the attempt due to very severe objective hazards and extremely bad weather. The heavy deposit of soft snow made them sink till the waist. As the weather continued to be bad, it was decided to attempt Saser IV first and then, weather permitting, attempt Saser I.

On 22 nd September, Amit Pande, Bhanoo, Rajkumar and Sange, took a little under 4 hours to reach the top of Saser Kangri IV. Satyabrata Dam and Pema climbed Saser IV on 23 rd and they descended to C1 on the same day. The second team came up and occupied C2 for attempting Saser IV on 24 th . But soon the weather deteriorated rapidly with a severe blizzard and the second team was asked to come down. They had many close calls but managed to reach C1 in zero visibility on 24 th and the entire team reassembled later at ABC the same day. On 25 th September, the team returned to BC.

(Article, Himalayan Journal Vol. 60)