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Asia, Tibet, Gurla Mandhata (Naimona' nyi)

Gurla Mandhata (Naimona’nyi). Our expedition consisted of Hansruedi Staub, Paul Tschanz, Diego Wellig and me as leader. After long negotiations, the Chinese government allowed us to travel to China with our own vehicles so long as we should leave them without cost to them at the end of the expedition. We entered western China via the Kunjerab Pass from Pakistan and drove through Tibet to Lhasa. Our chief objective was to make the second ascent of Gurla Mandhata by its northern side. On September 29, we got to Base Camp above Lakes Manasarovar and Rakastar and below holy mountain Kailas. We placed Advance Base and Camps I and II at 5600, 6350 and 7000 meters. Despite clear weather, wind storms made life difficult. On October 11, Tschanz and Wellig reached the summit (7728 meters, 25,355 feet). In an open bivouac at 7300 meters during the descent, Wellig suffered severe frostbite. The difficulties of the climb are comparable to those of Shisha Pangma. Between Camp I and the summit wall, we used skis. This was a great advantage because of the many crevasses. We climbed the summit wall differently from the Sino-Japanese expedition and ascended 60° snow in the upper part.

Markus Itten, Schweizer Alpen Club