American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Jannu, French Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

Jannu, French Route. The expedition consisted of four members: Rab Carrington, Brian Hall, Roger Baxter Jones and Alan Rouse. After a long walk in the monsoon rain we established Base Camp on the Yalung glacier, close to the site of the 1955 Kanchenjunga expedition Base Camp. The monsoon weather continued for three weeks until the end of September. We occupied this period in walking and bouldering so as to get as fit as possible. At the beginning of October we made an attempt on the east ridge of Jannu reaching the col between Jannu and Kangbachen on the fourth day of very difficult climbing (c. 21,500 feet). Here we abandoned our attempt as the line seemed too long and difficult for an alpine-style push. We turned our attention to the French route, which lay a good three-days’ walk from our Base Camp. After one day’s rest we set off immediately for the Yamatari glacier and the site of the French Base Camp. On the first day we ploughed through deep powder snow and reached a point just below the French Camp III. The next day proved to involve some very difficult and insecure climbing to reach the French Camp IV. On the third day we crossed the Tête de Dentelle. We felt very committed at this point because of the obvious difficulty of a retreat. The fourth day took us to near the site of the fifth French camp and below the summit headwall. On October 21 we left our bivouac site at 3:30 A.M. after a night plagued with constant spindrift. We reached the summit at 11:30 A.M. in very high winds after 2000 feet of fairly technical climbing. (Alpine T.D.) We descended to the bivouac site of the previous evening where we spent another night. We reached the Yamatari Glacier in a further two days of descending. The three days’ walk back to our Base Camp via the Lapsong La proved very tiring as we had run out of food. We climbed the route without tents, oxygen or Sherpa assistance.

Alan Rouse, Alpine Climbing Group

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