American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Langtrang Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1965

Langtrang Himal. The original intention of the Langtrang-Himal Anglo- Swiss Expedition had been to climb Ganesh Himal, but this seemed impossible owing to the shortage of time and difficulties over the route taken by Raymond Lambert in 1955. We were therefore given permission to attempt one of five peaks in the Langtrang-Jugal Himal area. Though fewer in number than originally planned, the Swiss guides, Ami Giroud, Michel Darbellay and Michel Rey, and I left Kathmandu for Langshisha on April 13. The approach march went from Trisuli Bazar to Betrawati, Dhunche, Syabru, Langtrang, Kyanjin Gompa and Langshisha (13,400 feet) where Base Camp was set up on April 20. After two days of reconnaissance it was decided to attempt yet unclimbed Dorje Lhagpa (c. 22,885 feet). Camp I was established on April 24 at 15,500 feet, five miles up the Trupaiku Glacier, and the Camp II on the 26th another four miles farther above the glacier and moraine on the col situated at the west flank of Dorje Lhagpa. Camps III and IV were established on April 29 and May 6 at 18,375 and 19,500 feet respectively up the west ridge. The ground from Base Camp to Camp II varied from moraine and scree to glacier and rotten snow. From Camp II to the summit there was an extremely difficult and steep icy ridge, where fixed ropes were generally needed. Above Camp IV the ridge continued horizontally for 400 yards before rising again at 55° to 21,300 feet. This was equipped with fixed ropes and pitons, and steps were cut up to 20,675 feet, the highest point reached by Ami Giroud and Michel Darbellay on May 8 and by Michel Rey and sirdar Sonam Girmi on May 10. The plan for an assault to the summit on May 12 had to be abandoned because of heavy snowfall and regretfully we fell back to Camp II, where it continued to snow for four days. At this stage, for business reasons I had to return to Kathmandu ten days earlier than anticipated. Knowing there would be avalanche danger for some days and that there was insufficient time before the porters’ return to Base Camp for the journey back to Kathmandu on May 23, it was decided to withdraw completely with a hope of being able to settle the score next year. During the two or three spare days at the end, Darbellay and Rey managed to reach within 650 feet of the summit of the virgin Fluted Peak (Gang Chhengpo, 20,978 feet) but again conditions prevented them from victory.

Anthony, Lord Shaftesbury, unaffiliated

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