"An unclimbed north face deep in the Himalaya. Two climbers. One mission."
Montane climber Malcolm Bass continues his passion for new and extremely challenging routes in the Himachal Pradesh Himalaya. His latest expedition, fully supported by Montane, will see himself and Guy Buckingham attempt a first ascent of the stunning unclimbed North West Ridge of Mt. Gangstang. Standing at 6,126m, Mt. Gangstang has a classic pyramidal shape reminiscent of the Matterhorn.
Planned for June 2016, Malcolm will again adopt a fast and light alpine style; which has yielded regular success throughout his career, including nominations for the prestigious Piolet D'Or for the first ascent of the West face of Vasuki Parbat (6,780m).
"We’re setting off - ‘we’ is myself and my climbing partner, Guy Buckingham – to the Indian Himalayas to climb Gangstang, which is an absolutely gorgeous 6,100m classically beautiful, pyramidal peak in Himachal Pradesh.
"The aim of going there is to climb the first ascent, either of the North face or the North West ridge. We’ve got about a month out there with this whole unclimbed aspect of the mountain.
"Guy and I are really keen to climb in a low impact style. These are fragile environments we’re going into, so the fewer people you can take in there, the better. There’ll just be the two of us climbing, a liaison officer, a cook and a cook’s helper. That’ll be the whole team.
We’ve seen distant photographs, but once we get there we’ll reconnoitre the area and actually look at the routes we’re going to climb and decide the exact tactic that we’re going to use. So it’ll be something between alpine style and done-in-a-day.
"Exactly how we approach Gangstang will depend on what we see when we get there, that’s one of the exciting things about this sort of climbing. We’ve got a rough idea obviously."
"The main reason we picked Gangstang is that there’s a beautiful unclimbed route there. It’s unclimbed routes that really motivate me, climbing faces, ridges, lines, that no one has climbed before. And Gangstang is a beautiful mountain but also it’s got two superb unclimbed lines – a razor sharp North West ridge that leads right up to the summit and also a lovely snow/ice North spur.
"It’s also in a part of the Himalayas that I’ve never been to. I’ve climbed a lot in the Himalayas but never been to Himachal Pradesh, so each part of the journey will be new, from when we leave Delhi, driving across the plains and the journey through the mountains. "