American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Nuptse Northwest, 1989

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Nuptse Northwest, 1989. [On page 228 of AAJ 1990, we made brief mention of this excellent climb. We now have the report.—Editor.] Our expedition consisted of Andreas Dick, Thomas Simon, Thomas Stöger, Hajo Netzer and I as leader. We set up Base Camp on October 1, 1989 on the Khumbu Glacier east of Kala Patar. On October 6, we established Camp I at 5950 meters, having climbed the rock on the northwest toe of the beginning of the ridge, where we found fixed ropes from former expeditions. A descent of about 100 meters led to the ice buttress, which gradually steepened from 40° to 80°. [This section was a variant first climbed in the winter of 1988-9 by Koreans. —Editor.] We emerged on the northwest ridge by means of an 80° couloir, where on October 14 we placed Camp II at 6580 meters. We fixed rope all along the buttress. Beyond Camp II, we had to climb over a 100-meter-high gendarme. Cornices made the steep climbing difficult and dangerous, especially with bad snow conditions last autumn. Having crossed the gendarme, we were on the long, winding northwest ridge where we gained little altitude. Several times Dick, Netzer and I left Camp II to fix ropes on difficult sections above, but finally the other two decided not to continue. On November 1, I left Camp II alone and climbed to the end of the fixed ropes at 7050 meters, where I dug a snow hole. I spent a terrible night due to strong winds. The next morning, November 2, 1989,1 climbed in 4½ hours to the lower northwest summit of Nuptse (7742 meters, 25,400 feet), which had been reached previously. (The slightly higher northwest summit has not yet been climbed.) The first 100 meters from my bivouac were steep and dangerously corniced. Then the ridge became less steep, but because of cornices, I climbed below the ridge crest. I had to abseil for ten meters on a short, very steep gendarme 150 meters below the top. I climbed the last 50 meters on my knees because wind prevented my climbing upright. From the summit I could see the whole, very impressive ridge to the main summit, but I decided to return. At three P.M. I was back at my bivouac. The next day I got down to Base Camp with all the gear from the high camps.

Ralf Dujmovits, Deutscher Alpenverein

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