Thursday, November 01, 2012

Climbers Attempting Highest Unclimbed Peak In Nepal

The fall climbing season on the big peaks in Nepal may be over for another year, but there are still a few expeditions taking place on some of the smaller peaks there. In addition to Alpenglow Expedition's on going climb on Ama Dablam, an independent team consisting of Chad Kellogg and David Gottlieb has now set its sights on a new objective – the highest unclimbed peak in Nepal.

According to ExWeb, the two men have traveled to Lunag Ri Massif, where they will be attempting to make the first ascent of the tallest peak in the region. The mountain in question is 6895 meters (22,621 ft) in height and will require considerable technical skill and experience climbing on a mix of snow, rock and ice.

The two men, along with a support Sherpa, arrived on the mountain last week and have been keeping themselves busy ever since. They have spent their days acclimatizing and shuttling gear up the slopes, and according to the latest dispatches from Chad, they now have Advanced Base Camp established at 4876 meters (16,000 ft). They've also managed to scout two different routes to the summit, both of which hold their own unique benefits and challenges. One is quite steep and includes dangers from overhanging seracs and potential avalanches. The other has more mixed ice and rock climbing and appears to be less steep, but doesn't seem to have obvious places for the climbers to bivy as they make their ascent.

Which route they ultimately attempt remains to be seen as a storm was expected to hit the area yesterday. If that storm did arrive as predicted, Chad says they'll take a few days to let the snow settle before proceeding up. They are operating on a limited budget and a tight schedule however, so there is a sense of urgency to get the climb underway. They estimate it will take about a week to complete the push, with 4-5 days spent climbing, one day spent on summit day and another day on the descent.

You can follow their progress through Chad's dispatches, which are found here. He hopes to post at least once more before they launch their bid.

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