Monday, November 04, 2013

Himalaya Fall 2013: Update From Lunag-Ri

One of the few remaining expeditions in the Himalaya that we've been waiting on an update from was Chad Kellogg and David Gottlieb's attempt on Lunag-Ri, the tallest unclimbed peak in Nepal at 6895 meters (22,621 ft). We do know that the duo set off on a summit push a week and a half back, but we hadn't heard anything of them since. Yesterday Chad posted an update on their attempt and the difficulties the faced trying to reach the top.

After shuttling gear to ABC on Oct. 22, and taking a rest day on the 23rd, the two climbers launched the summit bid on Thursday, Oct. 24. Ahead of them was a 4500-foot (1371 meter) wall that has resisted all attempts in the past. The route is a mix of snow, ice and rock that is difficult under the best of conditions. Unfortunately for Chad and David, these weren't the best of conditions.

Chad goes into more detail about the ascent and the conditions that they faced on the climb. It seems that things were going about as well as could be expected, with the exception of debris falling down the mountain face due to warm sun and strong winds blasting the mountain. At one point, the men took refuge in a bowl that provided some shelter while they waited for the sun to go down and temperatures to cool the mountain. The thought being that it would be safer to climb once everything solidified as the snow and ice froze again. After waiting about two hours, they then continued up the slope.

Even though the temperatures had dropped, the mountain didn't solidify completely. Chunks of rock and other debris continued to rain down on the climbers and at one point they heard something big rip off the face and start to tumble down. It was a large rock that ended up striking Chad in the shoulder and causing a severe, if not serious, injury. The arm wasn't broken, but Chad couldn't raise it above his shoulder and was having a difficult time swinging an ice axe. There was no way to continue up, so they elected to descend, reassess the situation and decide what to do next.

Chad and David made it safely down to Base Camp where Chad's injury was checked out. It seems he's fine, but quite sore. They are now weighing their options and considering making another attempt along a different route. For now, we'll just have to wait to see if that is possible.


Lakpa Sherpa said...

Spine Chilling..Wish the team goodluck..

Kraig Becker said...

Yes, definitely a scary experience.

Lakpa Sherpa said...
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