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Asia, Nepal, Ksum Kanguru, East Face, 1988

Kusum Kanguru, East Face, 1988. On October 23, 1988, British climbers John Diploch, Julian Holmes and I and Sherpas Ang Jangbo, Kami Tsering, Dawa Nuru and Lhakpa Dorje stood on the summit (6367 meters, 20,889 feet) of Kusum Kanguru, having just made the first ascent of the east face. It was a mixed route similar in complexity to that of the north face of the Eiger. The most serious problem was rockfall, which started around nine A.M. after the sun had been on the face for a couple of hours. One of the Sherpas was hit in the face by rock, but fortunately it only broke his goggles and caused a small cut by his right eye. Base Camp was in the Hinku valley at 14,000 feet. We established Camp I at 16,000 feet just below the Lungsamba Glacier on October 10. Between Camps I and II we crossed a large boulder field and an ice ramp with some rockfall. The Lungsamba Glacier was complex. We established Camp II at 19,000 feet on October 14, having fixed 500 feet of rope between these two camps. There were two principal features on the wall. One was a rock buttress; the other a large rock-and-ice ramp near the top of the face. We placed 2500 feet of rope between Camps II and III. On the fifth day on the wall, we bivouacked at 20,000 feet rather than go back down the fixed rope to Camp II. The temperature dropped to –37° and we had some minor frostbite. We established Camp III on a small col at 20,400 feet on October 22 and left there at five A.M. on the 23rd. The final 500 feet were on steep, soft snow and we reached the summit at 7:15 A.M. We had a new system of solar energy which supplied all power needs at Base Camp and all upper camps.

Nick Mason, Royal Geographical Society