AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Asia, Nepal, Nuptse, Northwest Peak

Nuptse, Northwest Peak. Although the seven-man-and-a-woman Japanese expedition did not reach the main summit, it could by no means be called a failure as they climbed the long northwest ridge which overlooks the lower western Cwm of Everest and reached the northwest peak (25,410 feet). Beyond still lay the west (25,575 feet) and the main peaks (25,850 feet). The expedition members were Haruo Kato, leader, Osamu Kunii, Minoru Inoue, Kazuo Shimura, Hiroshi Fujioka, Hitoshi Tamada, Ms. Yaiko Kodama and Dr. Takeo Honjo. Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier was established at 17,225 feet on March 16. The route started up a spur on the right side of the main ridge. (The route may easily be seen in photos and diagrams in Iwa To Yuki of October, 1977.) A 1000-foot couloir, a rock ridge and a short descent to a hanging glacier led to Camp I at 18,875 feet, set up on March 24. Camp II was established on April 5 close to the crest of the main ridge just below a snow dome at 20,350 feet. Above the dome the sharp corniced ridge was followed. Camps III and IV at 21,650 and 22,650 feet were made on April 18 and 28. This was the most difficult part of the climb. Camp V at 24,125 feet was established on May 8. Kato and Tamada made the first summit bid on the 9th but turned back at 25,200 feet. On the 10th Kunii and Jambu Sherpa set out and bivouacked in a snow cave at 24,775 feet. They got to the northwest peak at 11:45 on May 11. The continuing knife-edge would have called for another camp and 6500 more feet of fixed rope.