Kang Yatse is a beautiful looking Mountain Massif that dominates the entire Markha Valley. It is the highest peak of the valley and has a very high prominence. However, its the beauty of this peak that attracts climbers to it. Its a massif of 4 summits, all of which are above 6000 meters. Kang Yatse 1 is the highest peak of this massif and requires technical skills to climb to its summit.
While the second peak is a trekking peak, Kang Yatse 1 is categorized as a technical peak and the summit climb involves some good ice and snow climbing skills. The route is very steep and demands excellent physical stamina and powerful thigh muscles to walk through, especially the ultra-soft and dry snow conditions of Ladakh. The usual route we take to the summit camp of this peak is via the scree zone climbing up straight from below the mountain. There is an alternate route following the glacier, however, that's long and has a crevasse below the dome.
There is a very very difficult route from the summit of Kang Yatse 2 to the summit of Kang Yatse 1 via the rocky knife-edge ridge which looks very challenging. In 2018, a team from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute successfully traversed the difficult knife-edge ridge to reach the summit of KY1 from KY2.
Since this route is very technical and challenging, we do not take this route and left it for alpinism. We follow the route which climbs steeply and straight to the summit from the South-East ridge.
The summit climb to Kang Yatse 1 starts from its Camp 1 before the dawn at around 2 AM. Straight away you are on a steep snow slope of gradient over 65 degrees. Depending on the snow condition, rope may be fixed on the previous night or after covering some distance in the morning. The climb to the summit involves negotiating a broken ridge with good exposure and drop on both sides. After that, it's a steep climb on hard ice/ soft snow beneath the summit cornice, to cover the last 400 meters to the summit of the dome. Hard ice make it easy rather than soft snow. While early June/ July has good amount of snow cover, comparatively, it is much easier to achieve success on this peak during August/ September.
The views start to open up as you approach Camp 1 and the ranges of East Karakoram are visible towards your back. It's very important to have a focused head to achieve success on this summit. It will be an enriching experience as an aspiring mountaineer to take up other difficult peaks in the future.
Important Information For International Guests:
We require to get climbing permits from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation for this peak and support from a liaison officer. While we can arrange everything for you to be affiliates of IMF, the permit clearance process takes time and it's good if you give us time for that. While getting permits on short notice is possible as well, but not always guaranteed. So to be safe, it's better you connect with us at least 4 months in advance. Permit fees are charged separately on an actual basis.