Junai Kangri (6017m) first climbed this August by Jonas Cruces, Juan G. Hernandez, Francisco Ferrero, Jose C. Llamas, Phurbu Bhutia and Dawa Sherpa. [Photo] Jonas Cruces
On August 22, 2011, an expedition to India’s Karakoram led by Spanish mountaineer Jonas Cruces completed the first ascent of Junai Kangri (6017 m), establishing their new route Sin Permiso (IV AD+, 750 m). Junai Kangri is located in the remote Rimo Muztagh subrange of the Karakoram, which sees few visitors due to the delicate political relationships between Pakistan, China and India, all of whom border the area.
Cruces, accompanied by Juan G. Hernandez, Francisco Ferrero, Jose C. Llamas and two Indian climbers, Phurbu Bhutia and Dawa Sherpa, climbed the central gully on the west face of Junai Kangri and continued along the exposed ridge to the summit.
The team originally traveled to the eastern Karakoram intending to summit Mamostong Kangri (7561 m), the highest peak in the range, but after reaching an impassable bergschrund, Cruces and his team decided to attempt the nearby and as-yet unclimbed peak Junai Kangri. Though deflected from their original objective, Cruces says that being in the remote eastern Karakoram made choosing a second objective easy. “99% of the mountains around us had never been climbed,” Cruces says.
Six months ago, while in Rjukan, Norway, Cruces suffered injuries from an ice climbing accident. The ascent of Junai Kangri was doubly important to him, not only on its merits as a first ascent, but also as a testament to his recovery. The personal importance of the ascent is reflected in the name for the peak that Cruces chose: Junai is a combination of the names of Cruces’s two children, Jon and Unai.