Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Route Khumbu, Nepal




Colombian Direct, TD, 1,200 meters,90`, AI4 Lungartse Peak 6,070 meters, Khumbu Region, Nepal



Lungartse Peak, South Face
Camp 1 (NEMO Tenshi  tent)


On November 4, 2013, Camilo Lopez and I climbed a direct line on the South face of Lungarste Peak 6,070, in the Khumbu Region.  The peak is located in the cirque of Kyajo Ri and is known to local Sherpa as Umjo-Tse, or "Lake Peak".  The route we named the Colombian Direct,  ~1,200 meters, 90 degrees, AI4, TD.  We climbed over 3 days with no fixed lines, and completely unsupported. We saw no trace of previous exploration, anchors or rappel lines.  There is no record of any documentation of the peak having prior ascents.

We accessed the peak via Marlung, a small village between Thame and the Renjo La after a 4 day approach from Lukla. We had very little to no information about the area so we set up a high camp at 4,800 meters above Marlung to acclimatize and scope out lines on the surrounding peaks. Just prior to our arrival snow had fallen to over 2 meters covering the cirque in ice and snow making for full winter conditions. We spotted the most aesthetic line, a steep coulior on the South face of Lungarste Peak.
Dati Sherpa


--> At our base the Marlung Tea House, owned by Pasang and Dati Sherpa and we prepared for our assault. The weather had been stable since our arrival with thick clouds coming up the valley from Thame in the afternoon and clear, cold mornings. From our high camp at 4,800 meters, we first attempted the line only to realize we had misjudged the length and after climbing ~700 meters we were forced to retreat due to extreme cold and shortened periods of daylight in the winter conditions. We returned to Marlung feeling completely shut down and destroyed.

After a short recovery period we discussed the the option of having a second high camp at ~5,200 meters and decided to give it another go as this is the most aesthetic line on the peak. On November 2, we went back to our first high camp and then on day 2 we climbed with all of our bivy gear to a second high camp at ~5,200 meters. The conditions were extremely cold and we fought desperately to keep our toes and fingers warm. On day 3 after strenuous climbing to the mouth of the coulior,  we simul climbed the 65 degree snow in the lower section of the couloir. We then pitched out the 90 degree, AI 4 steps and mixed terrain and after~500 meters the top of the coulior funneled into a snow field onto the summit block. We started our descent at this point, the end of the coulior ~5,900 meters.  We did 10 + rappels down the steep coulior leaving behind pitons for anchors and down climbing sections avoiding falling rock and ice from the upper pitches.
Second Camp (NEMO Coda 0 degree bag)




Stoked Camilo


Somewhere near first bivy



I LOVE these tools! C.A.M.P Alpax Special




Down low on the coulior

-->
We returned to our second high camp in white out conditions just barely finding our tent. In the morning we returned back down to Marlung where Pasang and Dati Sherpa were excited to hear of our climb on Lungarste Peak as they told us many people come to climb Kaijo Ri but no climbers come to Lungarste Peak. We are very excited and fortunate to have explored this hidden Himalayan area that is often passed up for the larger more popular peaks. We saw no one for days. Although we suffered quite a bit with the extreme cold and conditions it was well worth it. We did the entire expedition supported by only by 2 local porters from Lukla to Marlung and the hospitality of Pasang and Dati Sherpa at the Marlung Tea House.

A very Big thank you to C.A.M.P, Maxim Ropes, and Nemo Equipment for their support. The best gear on the market!
Camilo on the sharp end
Down low


Psyched!


Rapping
Approach from Marlung
Gear I use: C.A.M.P Speed helmet, Air CR Harness,Maxim Airliner 9.1 Rope


Pasang Sherpa has taken people to Everest since he was 15 yrs old and is now 59!




Many people ask what we eat...well here it is and it all fits in a small bag. This lasted us 4 days

2 comments:

  1. Did you guys need to get a permit for the climb? Also, by the looks of it, do you only have one rope? Perhaps 80 meters? Other potentials in the area? Also curious as to what food is in the bag, looks like not too much...

    Congrats on a beautiful and clean ascent! Lovely looking area.

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    Replies
    1. I'll be up in the Khumbu for a couple months later on, so I might be curious in some more beta if you're willing to dish it out. Keep climbing safe, and check your knot.

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