View from base camp: the newly-dubbed Badile (right) and a spur reminiscent of the southwest Pillar of the Drus (top left)
Report by Chris Bonington (unedited)
Base Camp, 4,800 meters (15,750 Feet)
I'm sitting in our little communications tent at Base Camp with an amazing mountain view around me. Immediately opposite within half an hours walk are granite buttresses offering fun multi pitch rock climbs. Over them towers a rock spur reminiscent of the South West Pillar of the Drus, leading up to a 6020m summit. Looking south east up the valley, the right hand retaining wall of the glacier presents a series of thousand metre plus rock walls and buttresses that compare in size and seriousness to the best of the Alps, but of course they start at a height higher than any climb in the Alps. We've already named one huge wall, the North Wall of the Eiger, another, the Walker Spur of the Grandes Jorrasses. Mark Wilford observed gleefully that it was like coming to the European Alps for the first time before anything had been climbed.
We haven't yet been able to see around the corner of the glacier where we shall find the highest peaks and our principal objective - . 6789 which we have named Argan Kangri.
In the next few days we plan to recce a site for an advance base part way up the Northern flank of the Phunangma Glacier, and then do a series of training climbs, every one of them on unclimbed peaks and faces, before attempting Argan Kangri and some of the neighboring high peaks. We are in an Alladins cave of challenging unclimbed peaks and faces - the next few weeks should be fun.
All dispatches and photos courtesy of www.bonington.com