Four French climbers from the Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne claimed the first ascent of the 25,445-foot southwest face of Kamet in the Himalayas.
Kamet is located in the Garhwal region of northern India and is the third highest peak in the country. It is the highest summit in the Zanskar Range, and is difficult to reach by road. The French team traveled for three days by bus and 4x4 to reach their starting point.
The entire team was made up of seven climbers, but only four–Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdan, Sébastien Moatti and Sébastien Ratel–attempted the six-day, round-trip climb from an advanced base camp at 5,800 meters (over 19,000 feet).
The other team members, Lionel Albrieux, Arnaud Bayol and Antoine Bletton, climbed the far left side of the west face. However, they abandoned their attempt when they could not get through to their colleagues (the other team had dropped its satellite phone).
The ascent took five days and, on the final night, the team bivouacked at 24,600 feet, 900 feet below the top. They summited late on Sept. 27.
Aside from minor frostbite, the team members suffered no injuries. The route was named Spicy Game and given an overall grade of ED1.
The Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne is a team of elite mountaineers and non-combatant soldiers that advises the French military. The entire team is made up of 11 men and women from across France and is based in Chamonix. Since their inception, they have completed many impressive ascents, beginning in 1978 with the second winter ascent of the Harlin Route on the Eiger.