Going for a stroll on 5200m Shittadar Peak.

By:  Sam
March 30, 2010

TR: Shittadar Peak, Kullu Valley, India.

For what turned out to be our final ski objective in India, Amit, Allen, and I decided to go for a peak that would get us over 5000 meters. Amit was a little fixated on the number, and the peak he wanted to hit seemed like it had good skiing as well, so we all got on board.

Shittadar Peak, more boringly known as Friendship Peak, is near the head of the Solang Valley. By Himalayan standards, even Kullu valley standards, the Solang valley is quite accessible and small. Within the upper Solang valley, Shittadar Peak is the smallest and most accessible of the prominent summits ringing the valley, so what we went through to get up it should give you a good idea of the enormity of the peaks in the local area, and the Himalayas at large.

Allen, en-route

A late, 9am start, got us out the door and up the road past the Solang ski area by 10am. With our poorly maintained bikes beginning to loose power and overheat, we rolled to a stop at the mud pit that was the end of the road, and began hiking up the Solang valley towards Beas Kund.

It was getting extremely hot out, hot to the point that I was sweating profusely in light, rolled up, soft-shell ski pants, and a sleeveless shirt. As we skinned in, we observed some large snow rollers, and a massive rock fall across the valley, both signs of dangerous warming of the snowpack.

Allen and Amit breaking trail up towards Beas Kund

Allen in his really cool hat.

Slaving away under a hot sun.

I wasn’t kidding, there were some really huge snow rollers. This one was up to my elbow.

Allen, clearly forgetting how much work skinning is.

On the home stretch. This location definitely had the views!

After several hours, and a few thousand feet of pleasant skinning, we arrived at a flat, protected spot near the base of friendship peak and began building our campsite. Due to several weeks of warm temperatures and bright sun, there was not enough snow to build a snow-cave, so we resorted to a snow trench and a tarp. As we planned to wake up at 1am to start hiking the next morning, and weren’t going to get much sleep anyway, our accommodations weren’t much of a priority to us. As we’d gotten into camp early that day, we spent the afternoon eating, melting water, and enjoying the view up and down the valley. After several, lunches, snacks, and dinners we were finally in bed by 9pm, dozing off to sleep to the sounds of increasing winds and the tarp snapping in the breeze.

Yurt, Chalet, Condo; call it what you like, but it wasn’t that bad.

We tried to burn this image into our brains in preparation for a pre-dawn start in the morning. Shittadar peak is the tall snowy thing in the middle.

Due to the steepness of the valley, we lost direct sun at 4pm, even though the sun doesn’t set until almost 730.

Another good view from our Yurt.

Amit, shown here sporting a wonderful goggle tan, really liked our kitchen. We even had granite counters!

Sunset across the valley.

One last pot of water to melt before bed. (photo: Amit Paul)

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Read about the author:   Sam
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Down the Rabbit Hole


  1. powhounddd
    wrote on March 30th, 2010 at 10:20 pm  

    Just amazing! I can’t say anything else. Loss of skin at the very very end is just karmic. And the mountains let you come and go home unscathed — very blessed trip.

  2. Adrian
    wrote on March 30th, 2010 at 10:21 pm  

    That trip sounds beyond incredible and the photos are very awesome too!

  3. Greg
    wrote on March 30th, 2010 at 10:28 pm  


    seriously incredible

  4. jb
    wrote on March 30th, 2010 at 10:51 pm  

    caw! caw! great write up. beautiful shots. those ones are spectacular! thanks for sharing

  5. Anonymous
    wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 8:41 am  

    totally badass…trip of a lifetime

    • Sam
      wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 8:46 am  

      I appreciate the complements, but “trip of a lifetime” always touches me off a little. This trip was amazingly affordable and with a little schedule magic, there isn’t a reason one couldn’t spend every winter in Manali. In short, i hope it isn’t a trip of a lifetime, only the trip of the season.

      Glad you liked the TR!

    • christian
      wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 10:59 am  

      that was me (my internet forum skills are freakin’ awesome). didn’t mean to hit a bad nerve sam, but if you out-do this trip next season…i will give you 100 high fives.

    • Sam
      wrote on May 11th, 2010 at 12:08 pm  

      challenge accepted.

  6. TheBEast
    wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 9:15 am  

    Outstanding….Himalayan views all capture my imagination.

  7. Ben
    wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 10:25 am  

    Amazing! The scale of those mountains is just so different…

  8. Gregg L
    wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 10:30 am  

    Pretty amazing trip! I’ve really enjoyed reading the TR’s and the pics are outstanding. Great job getting after it!

  9. Lionel Hutz
    wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

    Really sweet but one question:

    “After four and a half hours of climbing by headlamp, just as the first rays of pre-dawn light were brightening the sky and the wind, which had been gaining force all morning, reached the height of it’s strength, we came to the base of slope too icy to skin and even a little sketchy to boot pack up. As we got our gear ready for the hike, I began to get intolerably cold, but Allen graciously lent me his mittens, saving my day.”

    What Mittens were these! (Wink Wink)

  10. Porter Haney
    wrote on March 31st, 2010 at 9:15 pm  

    Granite counter tops in the backcountry. That’s fantastic.

    Great write up Sam. Makes me want to go root around those adjacent valleys.

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