Kwangde Shar, Khumbu Himal. In October, I joined Roger Everett to make an alpine-style ascent on October 26 of the north face and descent of the south face of Kwangde Shar (20,309 feet). This is one of the new peaks listed by the Nepalese government. Base Camp was below the north face at 15,100 feet, two days from Namche, where we discovered that a fair amount of clothing, food and equipment had been stolen during the 14-day march from Kathmandu. The climbing rope had been cut to 95 feet. The first section was straightforward, but the last 2500 feet gave steep mixed climbing with liberal powder snow to complicate matters. We did not feel we could return by the same route and so descended the south face to the Base Camp of a large Japanese expedition attempting the central peak from this side. The way out was over a high pass which we could not cross due to a heavy storm. Fortunately the onset of the storm meant the Japanese were forced to evacuate the mountain and their excellent Sherpa team led us all out by an alternative route to the Dudh Kosi, where a day’s walk took us back to Namche. According to the Nepalese authorities this was the first official ascent of the summit but it is possible that the summit may previously have been reached from the south by an unofficial German expedition some years ago.
Lindsay Griffin, Alpine Climbing Group