Italians Searching for a New Route in ‘India’s Yosemite’

It was Chris Bonington who described Miyar Valley, in India’s Himachal Pradesh, as “India’s Yosemite.” Like the Californian valley, it offers endless climbing possibilities on granite peaks, many of them ranging between 5,000m and the 6,443m of its highest peak, Mount Menthosa.

Several teams followed Bonington’s advice and trekked to Miyar Valley which saw quite a few first ascents during the first 15 years of the 21st Century.

However, it is still a lonely, off-the-beaten-track climbing paradise. Exactly what Italian mountain guides Francesco Ratti, Alessandro Bau, Jerome Perruquet, and Lorenzo D’Addario were looking for.

The Neverseen Tower in 1991.

The Neverseen Tower in 1991. Photo: Rudi Bianchi

A line to choose between two peaks

The team will depart from their usual playgrounds in the Dolomites and the Aosta Valley for Delhi on September 3. Once they reach Miyar Valley, they will focus their efforts on one of two peaks, either the Neverseen Tower (5,800m) or Mahindra Peak (6,080m). Both peaks have been summited before, but still have plenty of potential new lines waiting to be climbed.

The climbers have eyed up some lines already. “We have different ideas developed on the basis of the pictures that we have of the area, but we know from experience that reality is often different from what one can imagine looking at a picture,” they explained.

“We are ready to adapt and to improvise, according to what we will find once we arrive in front of the walls.”

Ratti pulling a rope while climbing in mixed alpine terrain.

Francesco Ratti. Photo: Francesco Ratti


The Italians will look for a suitable, highly technical route. Despite their extensive experience both in the Alps and the Himalaya, none of them have been to the area before, so it will be a completely fresh experience. “We can’t wait to leave,” Ratti told the expedition press team.

The Neverseen Tower, an aesthetic granite spire, was first climbed by Italians Leone Di Vincenzo, Massimo Marcheggiani, and Alberto Miele in 1992. Americans Dave Sharratt and Freddie Wilkinson made the first ascent of Mahindra Peak in 2007.

The approach

The team will fly to Delhi and then drive to Manali, in Himachal Pradesh. From there they’ll move to the village of Shukto. From Shukto, it is a three-day trek to Base Camp, located at about 4,000m.

Miyar Valley lies northwest of the Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh and stretches for over 75km. More than 50% of the valley is covered in glaciers but it is the granite spires around the valley that fascinate climbers.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.