American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Shisha Pangma from the Southwest and Nyang Ri

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

Shisha Pangma from the Southwest and Nyanang Ri. On a reconnaissance in 1983, Tone Škarja and I made the first ascent of the Ice Tooth, the peak just south of Nyanang Ri. Since then, I have considered Nyanang Ri to be a most convenient peak for acclimatization before the ascent of the southwest face of Shisha Pangma. Unclimbed, it is close to Base Camp and of appropriate altitude (7071 meters, 23,200 feet). We arrived at Base Camp at 5300 meters on October 7. On the 10th, Stane Belak, Filip Bence, Pavle Kozjek and I bivouacked at the foot of the face on a rocky island at 6200 meters. The next day, we climbed the southwest face to the last big notch in the northwest ridge of Nyanang Ri, where we bivouacked at 6850 meters. On October 12, we reached the summit via the west ridge. Only the first 150 meters above the notch gave us some difficulties. After a three-day rest, on October 16 Kozjek and I moved to Advance Base at 5600 meters. A three-hour walk up a broken glacier took us onto the face at 5900 meters. A steep gully led us to the large icefield of the lower face. We started up a gully above the icefield, but a stream of snow and stones forced us around the gully and to the left, where we found the first difficulties on the rock. At the bottom of the buttress, at 7200 meters, we bivouacked. A thin layer of ice and snow made it hard to dig the platform, which sufficed for only half the tent. We spent the night sitting, still roped. Just behind the tent, the face rose steeply. We climbed mostly in ice gullies, often interrupted by time-consuming rock sections and traverses. We left the edge of the buttress at the bottom of a black tower. We crossed far to the left where we placed our second bivouac on a gently-sloping snowfield at 7700 meters. On October 19, we climbed gullies. The face did not give up easily and we climbed steep rock until we were 50 meters from the top. The route ended very close to the actual summit (8027 meters, 26,336 feet). We descended to the col between Shisha Pangma and Pungpa Ri and bivouacked there at 6750 meters. Kozjek suffered severely frozen feet. We rate the route at UIAA IV to V, 50° to 65°. It is 2150 meters high. From October 18 to 20, Bence and Viki Grošelj climbed a route farther right, along the line of the 1982 British descent (with variants), to the southeast ridge. For Grošelj, this was his eighth 8000er. Meanwhile, Belak and Marko Prezelj were attempting a third line, but they had to give up at 6500 meters because of illness. The other members of the party were Tone Škarja, leader, Dr. Žare Guzej, Iztok Tomazin and Cameraman Matjaž Fištravec.

Andrej Štremfelj, Planinska zveza Slovenije, Yugoslavia

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