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Overview

 
Reaching the summit ridge
Summit ridge of Jitan Zhoma (6004m)

The route ascending the northwest face of Jitanzhoma (Jitan Zhoma) can be qualified as the normal route on this easily accessible 6000er located south of Karo La, in the Lhagoi Kangri belt. The climb offers extraordinary views on its two highest neighbours Noijin Kangsang (7206m) and Kaluxung (6674m).

From the starting point at 4830m on the main road Gyantse – Lhasa, the route heads south in a small lateral valley. At an altitude of 5280m, the valley forks, and two options are possible either on the left or right branch of the valley. Both routes join again at a small col (altitude 5737m) on the upper part of the northwest face of the peak. Depending on conditions, the summit ridge can have some very short exposed rock/snow parts on loose rocks or cornices.

Except the exposed summit ridge, the climb is straightforward and does not present technical difficulties. The glacier on the NW face appears as virtually free from crevasses, so the route is quite attractive for small parties or solo climbers without rope.

The route can be climbed all year round, but it is better to avoid the monsoon season (summer) when the whole area is prone to sudden weather change. However, route conditions can vary significantly (see below, When to climb chapter). With an elevation above 6000m, Jitanzhoma remains a serious endeavour and a minimum of acclimatisation is required; it can however also represent an interesting acclimatisation trip before attempting neighbouring Noijin Kangsang. For an acclimatised party, the summit can be reached within less than three hours from the Base Camp.

There is only one report of a previous successful climb of Jitan Zhoma, realised in 2008 by SPer Corax via the East Couloir Route, however I found some old bolts and ropes on the summit rocks indicating that the peak has been climbed meanwhile by other expedition(s).

Getting there

 
Yak caravan
Yak caravan passing Karo La (5036m)



See the Lhagoi Kangri East area page and/or Jitanzhoma main mountain page, getting there section, for the approach to the peak from Lhasa (190km) or Shigatse (160km).

The route start around 6km west of Karo La on the main road between Gyantse and Lhasa (road S307), at the point where the road makes some switchbacks in order to join the bottom of the valley. The road marker indicates 126km, which represents the distance from the beginning of road S307 at Chusul bridge in the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) valley.

A small side valley (“Zhomu Gulley” on the map) leads south directly to Jitanzhoma, which summit can be spotted from the road. Starting point can be on both side of the stream, at an altitude of 4830m.

Coordinates for the possible starting points:
Option A. East side of the side-valley (left-hand side): Lat 28°54'10"N Lon 90°07'28"E, altitude 4830m
Option B. West side of the side-valley (right-hand side): Lat 28°54'05"N Lon 90°07'20"E, altitude 4830m

Route description

Enlarge
Overview of Jitan Zhoma NW face route, with the different options on the lower part of the route


From the road to the Intersection at P5280m



Option A: East (left) side of the Zhomu valley. From the starting point on the roadside, follow a loosely defined path on the left hand side of the river. The path rapidly gains elevation, and after about 1km the entire Zhomu valley becomes visible, with the majestic North face of Jitan Zhoma closing appearing at the far south (P5042m). Staying on the left side of the river, continue for another 2km up to the intersection (P5280m) where the valley divides itself into two branches: the eastern upper Zhomu valley heading towards Jitanzhoma north face, and the western upper Zhomu valley heading towards Jitanzhoma northwest face.

Option B: West (right) side of the Zhomu valley. From the road, head upstream staying on the right-hand side of the river, through some dense thorn bushes or just following the river bed. Reaching the small shelter for nomadic herders at an elevation of 5084m, Jitan Zhoma appears at the end of the valley. Continue on the right side of the river, until P5280m.

From the road to the Intersection at P5280m
Zhomu valley
1. Zhomu valley
4830m
Starting point of the route
Zhomu valley with Jitan Zhoma (6004) in the background
2. Zhomu valley & Jitan Zhoma
5042m
Eastern side of the valley
Jitan Zhoma (6004m) North Face
3. Yak & sheep shelter
5084m
Western side of the valley


From the Intersection at P5280m to the Col at 5737m



Enlarge
Jitan Zhoma NW face route with the two possible variants to reach the col at 5737m


At P5280m, the two approaches on both sides of the river join again, and the valley forks into an eastern (left) and western (right) branch. Both options are possible, the eastern one being more scenic with fine views on Jitan Zhoma north face, while the western option is more direct. I recommend the eastern option, but will describe both of them here below. Both variants join again at col 5737m, on the ridge separating the north face from the northwest face.

SE – S – SW panorama from intersection Point 5280m
Upper Zhomu valley with Peak 5861m
4. Eastern branch (SE)
5280m
Peak 5861m visible to the left
Jitan Zhoma (6004m) and P5776m
5. Jitan Zhoma (S)
5280m
N face (shadow) and NW face (sun)
West upper Zhomu valley
6. Western branch (SW)
5280m
Valley leading to the NW glacier



Option A: East (left) side of the Zhomu valley

From P5280m, head southeast for about 1km, until you reach the wide flat valley floor at the bottom of Peak 5861m West face and Jitan Zhoma North face. This is a suitable location for establishing camp, at around 5400m (see GPS coordinates below). In the warmer months, running water is available from the small stream, or in form of ice during the colder season.

Camp 5404m in Zhomu valley
7. Camp 5404m
with the climbing route up to col 5737m in the background


From the camp, two routes are possible to reach the col at 5737m, either crossing Jitan Zhoma North glacier, or following the snowfields below the small rocky prominence (P5776m) located to the right of the col.

After the heavy snowfall of the late 2010 monsoon, I found the last stretch on the glacier to be avalanche prone, and after reaching an altitude of 5650, I preferred to turn back and climb via the safer snowfields. However, during drier years (as well as during late winter & spring), the snowfields might have melted and the ascent on the steep scree will become unattractive, so at that time the glacier will provide the better option.

Option A1. From Camp 5404m to Col 5737m (following Jitan Zhoma North glacier)
Jitan Zhoma (6004m)
8. Jitan Zhoma North glacier
5481m
Start of the glacier
Jitan Zhoma NW face route
9. Jitan Zhoma North glacier
5580m
Looking down (north) in the valley
Towards Col 5737m
10. Jitan Zhoma North glacier
5604m
With col 5737m and P5776m


The alternative route goes to the right side of the glacier and passes below the prominent Point 5776m. In the conditions I found (November 2010), the climb was eased by a good layer of snow, and limited risk of rock fall. Once reaching the col at 5737m, the route joins with the other route described below (option B).

Option A2. From Camp 5404m to Col 5737m (following the snowfields below P5776m)
P5776m
11. Point 5576m
5455m
Seen from the NE
Jitan Zhoma North glacier
12. Jitan Zhoma North glacier
5548m
Seen from the W
On the snow slopes towards Col 5737m
13. Reaching col 5737m
5668m
Seen from the N


Option A2. Overview of the route from Camp 5404m to Col 5737m
Enlarge
14. Climbing route from Camp 5404m to Col 5737m
Seen from the W
Enlarge
15. Climbing route from Camp 5404m to Col 5737m
Seen from above


Option B: West (right) side of the valley

From P5280m, head south for about 1km up to a dry glacier lake, where Camp 5377m can be established. Depending on the season, the snowline is another 0.5 – 1km further up, at an altitude between 5500 and 5600m. Jitan Zhoma NW glacier itself starts at an altitude of 5600m, and appears to be virtually free of crevasses. Keep on the left hand side on the glacier until you reach col 5737m.

Option B. From Camp 5377m to Col 5737m (following Jitan Zhoma North glacier)
Upper Zhomu Valley
16. Western branch of the valley
5407m
Looking S-SW, on the moraine
Upper Western Zhomu valley
17. Jitan Zhoma west ridge
5667m
Looking W, on the NW glacier
Western Zhomu valley
18. Reaching col 5737m
5737m
Looking back to the ascent route



From the Col at 5737m to the summit of Jitan Zhoma



The small col at 5737m separating P5776m from the NW ridge of Jitan Zhoma offers fine few on the Noijin Kangsang massif to the north and Peak 5861 to the northeast.

From the col, the elevation gain is about 300m following the NW ridge separating the N face (left) from the NW face (right). Staying on the right side of the ridge, the climb is straightforward and doesn't present any technical challenge. The whole Zhomu valley is visible up to the starting point on the roadside.

From the Col at 5737m to the summit of Jitan Zhoma
Jitan Zhoma NW ridge
19. NW ridge
5776m
Looking SE from Point 5776m
Peak 5861m (W face)
20. Peak 5861m (W face)
5737m
Looking NE from Col 5737m
Noijin Kangsang (7206m)
21. Noijin Kangsang (7206m)
5737m
Looking N-NE from Col 5737m

From the Col at 5737m to the summit of Jitan Zhoma
Jitan Zhoma ascent route
22. Western Zhomu valley
5861m
Looking N down the ascent route
Reaching the summit ridge of Jitan Zhoma
24. Reaching the summit ridge
6000m
Looking NW
Reaching the summit ridge of Jitan Zhoma
21. Noijin Kangsang (7206m)
6000m
Looking S towards the summit


Reaching the summit ridge at an altitude of approx. 6000m, the route joins with the East Couloir. Kaluxung main and south summits are now visible to the east. The summit ridge is short (about 100m), and did not present major difficulties at the time I climbed it (November 2010), with a good snow cover facilitating a quick progression. The three small rock/snow prominences at the end of the ridge must be climbed with precaution in case of cornices over the steep east face.

From the Col at 5737m to the summit of Jitan Zhoma
Kaluxung (6674m) from the summit ridge of Jitan Zhoma
25. Junction with the East Couloir
6000m
Looking SE, with Kaluxung in the background
Jitan Zhoma summit ridge
26. Summit ridge
6000m
Looking S, with the summit in the background
Summit of Jitan Zhoma
27. On the Summit
6026m (GPS)
Vestiges of a previous ascent

Summit of Jitan Zhoma
28. Summit ofJitanzhoma (map 6004m, GPS 6026m)
with the Bhutanese Himalaya in the background


5. When to climb / Route condition

The route can be climbed all year round, but it is better to avoid the monsoon season (summer) when the whole area is prone to sudden weather change, and the lower part of the route may be prone to avalanches. Winter is a very nice season to climb in Tibet, but the cold is pungent and winds can be extremely fierce, especially towards the end of the winter.

The route conditions can vary significantly. According to my experience, the summit ridge will have a thicker snow cover in the post-monsoon season, covering all tricky rocky sections. The following two pictures show the summit in March 2008 and November 2010.

Summit
March 2008
Summit of Jitan Zhoma
November 2010

6. Essential Gear

Camping equipment, crampons, ice axe and appropriate clothing for a 6000er are essentials.

7. Map

Map of Jitan Zhoma NW face route
Extract from the Noijin Kangsang map, with the different route options to join Jitan Zhoma NW face marked in red

8. Note on the altitude

According to the 1:50'000 Noijin Kangsang map, the summit of Jitan Zhoma has an elevation of 6004m. Corax Jitanzhoma page gives an altitude of 6028m measured with GPS. During the four ascents I made on 6 and 7 November 2010, my own GPS readings on the summit were 6026m / 6019m / 6017m / 6026m (average 6022m). It is therefore reasonable to consider that the map is underestimating the true altitude of around 20m, the elevation of Jitan Zhoma being somewhere between 6015 and 6030m.

9. GPS Waypoints

From the starting point on the roadside to the junction at P5281m

Option A: East (left) side of the valley


P4830m: Lat 28°54'09.39"N Lon 90°07'27.95"E Starting point on the road side (road marker Km 126)
P5042m: Lat 28°53'38.66"N Lon 90°07'34.04"E Waypoint (good views on Jitan Zhoma from that point)
P5280m: Lat 28°52'43.98"N Lon 90°07'50.55"E Junction for Camp 5404m and Camp 5377m

Option B: West (right) side of the valley


P4830m: Lat 28°54'04.97"N Lon 90°07'20.33"E Starting point on the road side (road marker Km 126)
P5084m: Lat 28°53'28.45"N Lon 90° 7'34.44"E Nomadic camp (Jitan Zhoma is visible to the south)
P5117m: Lat 28°53'19.42"N Lon 90°07'39.37"E Waypoint (Jitan Zhoma is visible to the south)
P5280m: Lat 28°52'43.98"N Lon 90°07'50.55"E Junction for Camp 5404m and Camp 5377m

From the junction at P5281m to the col at 5737m

Option A1: East (left) side of the valley – following Jitan Zhoma North glacier


P5404m: Lat 28°52'23.08"N Lon 90°08'11.77"E Campsite (good views on Jitan Zhoma North face)
P5451m: Lat 28°52'13.72"N Lon 90°08'10.49"E Start of snowfield
P5481m: Lat 28°52'08.96"N Lon 90°08'11.60"E Start of glacier
P5645m: Lat 28°51'54.91"N Lon 90°08'03.82"E Waypoint on the glacier
P5737m: Lat 28°51'52.35"N Lon 90°07'57.56"E Col 5737m

Option A2: East (left) side of the valley – following the snowfields below P5776m


P5404m: Lat 28°52'23.08"N Lon 90°08'11.77"E Campsite (good views on Jitan Zhoma North face)
P5451m: Lat 28°52'13.72"N Lon 90°08'10.49"E Start of snowfield
P5521m: Lat 28°52'05.33"N Lon 90°08'4.69"E At the foot of the big serac on the edge of the glacier
P5737m: Lat 28°51'52.35"N Lon 90°07'57.56"E Col 5737m

Option B: West (right) side of the valley


P5377m: Lat 28°52'20.65"N Lon 90°07'46.96"E Campsite
P5490m: Lat 28°52'02.10"N Lon 90°07'38.44"E Start of snowfield (put crampons)
P5737m: Lat 28°51'52.35"N Lon 90°07'57.56"E Col 5737m

From the col at 5737m to the summit


P5737m: Lat 28°51'52.35"N Lon 90°07'57.56"E Col 5737m
P6000m: Lat 28°51'40.95"N Lon 90°08'08.26"E Point where the eastern route reaches the summit ridge
P6026m: Lat 28°51'39.64"N Lon 90°08'08.61"E Foresummit
P6026m: Lat 28°51'39.03"N Lon 90°08'08.21"E Summit of Jitan Zhoma

10. Labelled Panorama

Panorama from Jitan Zhoma summit ridge
South (Bhutan Himalaya)
Panorama from Jitan Zhoma summit ridge
South (Bhutan Himalaya)
Panorama from Jitan Zhoma summit ridge
South (Bhutan Himalaya)


Panorama from Jitan Zhoma summit
South (Bhutan Himalaya)
Panorama from Jitan Zhoma summit
South - Southeast (Bhutan Himalaya)
Panorama from Jitan Zhoma summit
Southeast (Karjiang & Kula Kangri)


Panorama from P5776m
North
Noijin Kangsang (7206m)
North – Northeast

10. Mountains South of Karo La


Peak list

Nr.
Altitude
(m)
Name
Location
(Lat / Lon)
Prominence
(m)
01 6674m Kaluxung 28°51'02.4"N 90°12'24.7"E 1458m
02 6536m Kaluxung South 28°50'12.6"N 90°13'10.2"E 240m
03 6496m P6496m 28°50'20.3"N 90°13'39.0"E 30m
04 6325m Jangsunglhomo / Jangsang Lhamo 28°48'58.8"N 90°16'46.2"E 610m
05 6302m P6302m 28°50'55.3"N 90°13'55.6"E 30m
06 6249m Gyalongsum / Jagang Susong 28°48'19.7"N 90°13'14.4"E 420m
07 6186m P6186m 28°49'25.8"N 90°17'21.6"E 180m
08 6182m P6182m 28°49'44.9"N 90°18'29.1"E 280m
09 6165m P6165m 28°50'00.6"N 90°16'50.3"E 140m
10 6126m P6126m 28°48'52.3"N 90°14'55.6"E 340m
11 6092m P6092m 28°51'29.6"N 90°13'58.2"E 110m
12 6085m Bumdu 28°50'47.8"N 90°16'33.7"E 270m
13 6004m Jitanzhoma 28°51'43.9"N 90°08'07.4"E 560m
14 5962m P5962m 28°51'20.0"N 90°16'30.0"E 80m
15 5938m Zhojo Gongri 28°49'36.1"N 90°20'1.1"E 200m
16 5936m P5936 28°51'59.4"N 90°16'29.3"E 110m


Orientation
 
Kara Pu valley south of Karo La
Kara Pu valley

Most of the mountains South of Karo La are aligned in a east-west direction, following a sharp ridge.

The most convenient approach is from the North via the Gyantse-Nagartse road, as all peaks are located within a maximum distance of 10km from the road. Numerous short valleys lead straight from the road to the north glacier/ridge/face of the mountains.

The only important valley heading south is the Kara Pu. It is a wide valley providing good grassland for yaks and sheep. The valley, which is about 15km long, is flanked on the west by Kaluxung and on the east by Jitanzhoma. The 5444m high Doda La pass at the end of the valley is connecting Kara Pu with Quzong Pu valley.



Gallery of peaks South of Karo La

 
Early morning light on Kaluxung
Kaluxung N 6674m (NE)
 
Kaluxung North and South Summit
Kaluxung N 6674m and S 6536m (W)
 
Kaluxung North and South summit
Kaluxung S 6536m and N 6674m (N)
 
Kaluxung South Summit (6536m)
Kaluxung S 6536m (N)
 
Kaluxung South Summit (6536m)
P6496m and Kaluxung S 6536m (NE)
 
Jangsang Lhamo (6325m)
Jangsang Lhamo 6325m (N)
 
P6302m - North Face
P6302m (N)
 
P6302m (West)
P6302m (W)
 
Gyalongsum (6249m)
Jagang Susong 6249m (N)
 
Gyalongsum (6249m)
Jagang Susong 6249m (W)
 
P6186m (North face)
P6186m (N-NE)
 
Unnamed Peak 6182m (NE face)
P6182m (N-NE)
 
Unnamed Peak 6182m
P6182m (NE)
 
Unnamed Peak 6165m
P6165m (E-NE)
 
Unnamed Peak 6165m
P6165m (N-NE)
 
Unnamed Peak 6126m
P6126m (NW)
 
P6092m (N-NE face)
P6092m (N-NE)
 
Mt. Bumdu (6085m)
Bumdu 6085m and P5962m (N-NE)
 
Jitanzhoma seen from 6550m
Jitanzhoma 6004m (E)
 
Jitanzhoma (6004m)
Jitanzhoma 6004m (N)
 
Zhojo Gongri 5938m (North face)
Zhojo Gongri 5938m (N-NE)
 
Zhojo Gongri Northeast ridge (5938m)
Zhojo Gongri 5938m (NE)
 
P5936m (North face)
P5936m (N)
 
Unnamed Peak 5816m (North face)
P5816m (N)


Table

 
Kaluxung Glacier Lake
Kyangyong Tso (4952m).
Glacier lake at the end of the Kyangyong glacier.
 
Kaluxung (6674m)
Kaluxung Icefall.
The climbing route follows the moraine on the right.
 
Kaluxung (6674m)
Camp on the moraine.
Near the icefall, altitude 5320m.
 
Kaluxung - climbing route
Climbing route.
The route crosses to the left above the icefall.

text after table 1

Kaluxung South Summit (6536m)
Crevassed area.
Cross the crevassed to the left, and then follow the gentle curve to the right again.
Noijin Kangsang (7206m) - South
Sunrise on Noijin Kangsang.
Seen from an altitude of around 6'000m on Kaluxung slopes.

text after table 2
Kaluxung (6674m)
Kyangyong glacier.
Kaluxung South Summit in the background.
Kaluxung, Gyalongsum and Bhutan Himalaya
Approching main summit.
Bhutan Himalaya in the background.
Kaluxung Summit ridge (6674m)
Windy summit ridge.
On the exposed summit ridge, the west winds can be extremely strong.
Noijin Kangsang (7206m) - from Kaluxung Summit
View from the summit (6674m).
North ridge in the foreground and Noijin Kangsang (7206m) in the background.

text after table 3
 
Kaluxung (6674m)
Kaluxung South seen from the main summit.
Background: Phuma Yumtso and Bhutan Himalaya.
 
Gyalongsum (6249m)
View from Kaluxung South Summit.
In the foreground, Gyalongsum (6249m).
 
Phuma Yumtso and Bhutan Himalaya
View from Kaluxung South Summit:
Bhutan Himalaya with Karjiang (7221m, unclimbed) and Kula Kangri (7538m).

text after table 4


   
 
Ridge between P6161m-P6130m
Qunyang (6121m) and P6161m (coming soon, under construction)
 
Qigu (6212m) and Naji Kangsha (6106m)
Naji Kangsha (6106m)(coming soon, under construction)

text after table 5




     
Ridge between P6161m-P6130m
Qunyang (6121m) and P6161m (coming soon, under construction)
 
Qigu (6212m) and Naji Kangsha (6106m)
Naji Kangsha (6106m)(coming soon, under construction)

text after table 6




Mountain1 Height1
Mountain2 Height2


Peak 6161m
 
Peak 6161m
 
Unnamed Peak
seen from Mt. Qunyang
(looking East)


Altitude: 6’161m / 20’213ft
Prominence: 200m / 650ft
Latitude: 29°00'11.3"N
Longitude: 90°12'46.7"E
Mt. Qunyang
seen from Unnamed Peak
(looking West)

Altitude: 6’121m / 20’082ft
Prominence: 170m / 560ft
Latitude: 29°00'10.0"N
Longitude: 90°14'08.5"E



Peak 6161m
 
Peak 6161m
 
Unnamed Peak
seen from Mt. Qunyang
(looking East)


Altitude: 6’161m / 20’213ft
Prominence: 200m / 650ft
Latitude: 29°00'11.3"N
Longitude: 90°12'46.7"E
Mt. Qunyang
seen from Unnamed Peak
(looking West)

Altitude: 6’121m / 20’082ft
Prominence: 170m / 560ft
Latitude: 29°00'10.0"N
Longitude: 90°14'08.5"E

Panorama

TESTING PANORAMIC OPTION 1


TESTING PANORAMIC OPTION 1B - font 14 bold



TESTING PANORAMIC OPTION 4



Some more test

 
Jitan Zhoma
Jitan Zhoma
 
Jitan Zhoma (6004m) North Face
Jitan Zhoma
 
P5776m
P5776m
 
P5776m
P5776m)
 
Kaluxung (6674m)- west side
Kaluxung
 
Kaluxung (6674m)- west side
Kaluxung
 
Kaluxung (6674m)- west face and west pillar
Kaluxung
 
Kaluxung (6674m) and Gyalongsum (6249m)
Kaluxung
 
Gyalongsum (6249m)
Gyalongsum
 
Gyalongsum (6249m)
Gyalongsum
 
Gyalongsum (6249m)
Gyalongsum
 
Noijin Kangsang (7206m)
Noijin Kangsang
 
Noijin Kangsang (7206m)
Noijin Kangsang
 
Peak 5962m
Peak 5962m
 
Karjiang (7221m) and Kula Kangri (7538m)
Karjiang / Kula Kangri
 
East side of Jitan Zhoma
East side
 
East Couloir route
East couloir
 
Peak 5861m
Peak 5861m


Other