The Kulu valley of Himachal Pradesh
is dominated by the Beas River
which rises at the Rohthang pass, and by its major tributary Parbati which originates in the glacier system around the Pin-Parbati pass separating Kulu from Spiti
. Kulu is beautifully positioned on the Western Himalayan side and on the banks of the River Vyas. This valley of the state of Himachal Pradesh is located in the lap of the Himalaya Mountains
, and it is renowned for its apple orchards, shawls and several cultural festivals. Before the construction of the motor road, the most popular routes were over the passes on the Dhauladhar range from Mandi State. One could also travel from Shimla, via Narkanda, Larji and Bajaura. Over the Rohthang pass Lahul
is located, a district that is almost totally surrounded by the rivers Chandra and Bhaga which eventually merge in the southwest corner to become the Chenab River
. Ease accessibility to the mountains is an important reason for the popularity of Kulu valley.
East of the Beas River and up to its barrier wall with Spiti lies the major climbing arena of glaciers, interconnected between themselves by passes so that a variety of approaches can be attempted. Thus the Indrasan-Deo Tibba area can be equally well approached from thejagatsukh nala (off the river Beas) as from the Malana nala. The Parbati valley has three tributaries, the head of each being a climber`s playground -Tichu, Tos and Dibibokri. The mountains at their head go up to the high ridge that separates them from the Bara Shigri glacier which is approached from across the Rohthang passes and into Lahul and the eastern end of the Chandra loop. Dhaula Dhar is a mountain wall separating the Kangra
and the Kulu valleys.
Some of the earliest climbing in Kulu was done by C. G. Bruce who, with the Swiss guides Heinrich Fuhrer and some Gurkhas from his regiment climbed and explored the area in the year 1912. They climbed in the Solang nala and made the first ascent of Hanuman Tibba. They also made several recces around the area. Another excursion was up the Parbati valley. Mount Deo Tibba was the prime attraction in the early years of serious climbing in Kulu, possibly because of its proximity to Manali and also the prominent way it displayed itself from nearby viewpoints. But it was twenty-seven years before J. O. M. Roberts took over in the year 1939, where Bruce had left off. 1950 and the following years saw some quite feverish activity to solve the Deo Tibba problem. E. H. Peck and C. R. Patterson followed the Bruce route via the Jabri nala and Pianguru thach and pushed further up the glacier and onto its lower plateau. It was not until the year 1958 that H. McArthur and G. Douglas made a serious attempt, followed by Robert Pettigrew with the Derbyshire expedition of the year 1961. It was the Kyoto University Alpine Club (Prof K. Onodera) who finally made the first ascent in 1962 having also climbed Deo Tibba on the same day.
There is Solang nala to the north of Mana
li, considered as really interesting. It is dominated by Hanuman Tibba (5928 m), but the cirque also has the more modest Ladakhi Peak (5342 m) from which a ridge runs north to Manali Peak (5669 m) and onto Mukar Beh (6069 m) and Shikar Beh (6200 m). Back in the main arena there is Shiti Dhar (5294 m) and Goh Kincha (5153 m). After C. G. Bruce`s ascent, the second ascent of Hanuman Tibba was made by a team of friends led by R. Pettigrew in the year 1966 by its south ridge. Since then several climbs have been made in this favourite mountain. Mukar Beh, however, is considered as a much tougher proposition; not only does one traverse over Manali Peak but from then onwards, the connecting ridge is of the worst type.
It is stated that Parbati valley along with the peaks of the Malana glacier to the west is difficult to cover comprehensively. At the head of the Malana nala lie `Malana Towers` one of which was first climbed by Colin Pritchard`s party in the year 1966. The techniques of climbing improved every year. Of the three tributaries of the Parbati, the Dibibokri was the first to be investigated, by K. Snelson in the year 1952, along with Graaff and Schelpe. Several teams had their eye on this highest summit in the region and its first ascent was made by an Italian team led by M. Tremonti in the year 1968 who appropriately named it `Parbati Parbat`. They approached the peak from the main Dibibokri glacier and the Dibibokri Pyramid to its southeast and then followed the connecting ridge to the top. It was considered as a remarkable achievement on any peak.
Kullu valley bounded by several interesting peaks offers endless possibilities to the trekkers. The natural beauty of this majestic valley in the spring season remains at its peak.