American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Baruntse, North Ridge Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Baruntse, North Ridge Attempt. The north ridge of Baruntse has usually been attempted from the more accessible Khumbu region. Climbing to the ridge from this side can be very hazardous because of avalanche danger (AAJ, 1981, pages 249-251). Instead, we approached the ridge from the east, using a route reconnoitered by George Lowe’s expedition in 1954. Tom Creighton, Lucy Loomis, their two-year-old daughter Susan, Howard Runyon, Lia Loomis, Sarah Elson and I trekked for 13 days from Hille up the Arun River and over Shipton Pass. We established Base Camp at the site of Hillary’s Base Camp at the edge of the Barun Glacier at 5000 meters. Creighton, Sirdar Dendi Sherpa and I spent six days route-finding and ferrying loads on the rock-covered Barun Glacier. We made Camp III at 5500 meters at the base of the icefall that descends from the Barun-Imja col. After finding a route through the icefall, we established Camp IV on the col at 6150 meters on May 5. We reached our high point of 6500 meters on the north ridge after fixing 200 meters of rope on steep ice mixed with loose rock and snow. A lack of equipment and time prevented our continuing up the remaining difficulties, which appeared to ease after another 200 to 300 meters. The north ridge from the east suffers from a long approach but offers a relatively straightforward route in classic surroundings.

James Brug, Unaffiliated

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