Ramsden and Miller make first ascent of Surma-Sarovar in western Nepal
- Tuesday 14th November 2023
Paul Ransden and Tim Miller have just returned from western Nepal having made the first ascent of the north face of Surma-Sarovar.
Talking to Mountain Equipment, Paul Ramsden, Tim Miller, Matt Glenn and Hamish Frost have jointly reported their expedition describing it as ‘the wildest trip they have ever been on’ in one of the most isolated regions of Nepal.
According to an initial write-up on the ME Blog, the team travelled to the Salimor Khola valley in the far west of Nepal, possibly one of the most remote regions of Nepal. Just getting to base camp was a major achievement with difficult river crossings and earthquakes all posing challenges. From base camp, they still had to explore a huge area of mountains before settling on a suitable objective.
Splitting into two teams of two, Paul and Tim made the first ascent of Surma-Sarovar, which they measured at 6605m, over an eight-day outing from base camp. They climbed the mountain via its north face which was over 2100m high and highly committing (ED), over four days. The descent was long and complex and took a further two days to descend.
Matt and Hamish put some serious effort into two adjacent peaks but sadly were unsuccessful. The pair first tried an amazing-looking 800m gully line leading to an unclimbed 6000m peak. After good progress on the first day they had to retreat after a steeper section where the ice ran out (and the tent got buried and trashed by spindrift). They next attempted a 6400m subsidiary peak of Surma-Sarovar. Having both already fallen through cornices and having seen the summit slope on the left avalanche, they made the decision to turn back 200m below the summit.
Ramsden (54) and Miller (37) will be in Briancon to retrieve a Piolet d’Or for last year’s Phantom Line up Jugal Spire. Remarkably for Ramsden, it will be his 5th Piolet d’Or. Ramsden has made many of his early climbs with Mick Fowler before linking up with IFMGA Mountain Guide Tim Miller. Previously in 2022, the pair climbed together on an expedition to Jugal Spire.