Luca Schiera is part of Ragni di Lecco alpine team and does a lot of alpine climbing all over the world. His last trip together with his climbing partners Matteo De Zaiacomo and Matteo Della Bordella brought him to India to climb Bhagirathi IV Bhagirathi IV (first ascent of the west face) and Shivling (west ridge, normal route). In this report, he tells us about this trip:
"We left Italy on August 11th and five days later we reached our base camp in Nandanvan 4450m in the heart of Garhwal Himalaya. We planned to arrive early in the season, complete the acclimatization during the last days of the monsoon and be ready for climbing Bhagirathi IV as soon as possible, before it gets too cold for rock climbing as we experienced four years ago during our first attempt on the mountain.
The idea was right, but the climate was different than we expected. First it snowed at the base camp, meanwhile we climbed Bhagirathi II (6512m) but after a some sunny days everything was dry and warm.
On September 3th we moved to the advanced base camp, ready to start climbing the following day. It was much warmer than normal and that afternoon we saw two massive stone falling down along our planned route, it was not as safe as it looked. We didn't have any plan B so we walked down to the base camp, happy to be in the right place but with no idea what to do. Two days later we started climbing another line in the centre of the mountain, already tried many times since the '80, we spent two days on the wall before realizing it was too blank to be climbed fast and in a good style, we bailed.
Some days later we planned the last attempt, it was colder and after five days spent below the mountain we didn't see any rockfalls anymore. Therefore we evaluated it was reasonable to try the original line again. We had to be much faster and lighter. In order to minimize the risk we planned a two days ascent. We sat off from the abc at midnight on September 15th, I started climbing in the dark and by the sunrise we reached the first bivy spot of the first attempt, we changed lead. Matteo climbed the middle part till the tricky traverse to the left, which allowed us to reach another big corner that goes towards the end of the schist band. It was late afternoon when we changed lead again. I climbed the last two rocky pitches, everything was loose but somehow we managed to reach the snow ramp in the night. Matteo put the crampons and led us to till the summit, it was midnight. We slept right below the ridge on the east side of the mountain and the next day we were back at the base camp. One day after this we moved to Tapovan, the other side of the valley. With the last days left we climbed the Shivling (6543m) from the classic west ridge, a beautiful mixed route on one of the best looking mountain I've ever seen."
You can find some more info about the trip here (in Italian only): https://www.planetmountain.com/it/notizie/alpinismo/bhagirathi-iv-parete-ovest-salita-matteo-della-bordella-luca-schiera-matteo-de-zaiacomo.html