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Asia, Nepal, Chulu West, Annapurna Himal

Chulu West, Annapurna Himal. The westernmost summit (21,300 feet) of Chulu was climbed on November 4 by Mountain Travel Sirdar Lhakpa Nuru, Ang Jangbo Sherpa, Dr. Larry Zaroff and me. This peak is best viewed from the Thorong La; it is the summit which dominates the view to the east and appears to be a peak in its own right. A few hours above Manang on the Thorong Pass trail is a yak herder’s hut; at this point we left the trail and followed the pastureland ridge into a pleasant side valley at 16,000 feet, located directly beneath the rock prow which constitutes the westernmost toe of the west-northwest ridge of Chulu. Base Camp was located in this valley and a cache was established atop the rock prow at 18,000 feet. The summit was reached in two days from Base with one camp at 19,000 feet. The route was of moderate difficulty, although very long and potentially exposed to slab avalanche hazard. From the west summit we could observe another summit to the east about 400 feet higher and one-half mile away. Further east was still another summit although it appeared to be not as high as the central summit. As we trekked out the valley below Manang toward Pisang, we observed several “baby” Chulus of approximately 20,000 feet stringing eastward of the three main summits. Local Manangi people say Chulu simply means “yak pass,” rather than one particular summit.

Peter Lev