AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Asia, Bhutan, Tsendakang

Tsendakang. Our members were Hiroshi Kodama, Kosuke Honma, Ryoji Takahashi, Takeharu Shumiya and I as leader. After an approach from Thimpu, which began on October 12, we arrived at Base Camp at 4700 meters on October 20 on the south side of Tsendakang. We fixed rope up to 5300 meters in the icefall for two days, but were stopped by crevasses. We changed to the west side and made Advance Base under the southwest face of Tsendakang at 5350 meters on October 28. To get there took five hours, which included crossing a 5100-meter pass. From Advance Base, we climbed a couloir threatened by rockfall to reach the west ridge. We continued up the snow ridge, fixing 750 meters of rope to the base of a steep rotten-rock step. After leaving supplies, we returned to Advance Base. At 8:30 A.M. on November 6, Kodama, Honma and I started from Advance Base, climbed to the top of the fixed ropes and another 150 meters of rock. We continued up the steep ridge on unstable snow. As night fell, there was no place to camp. We bivouacked at 9:30 P.M. on the snow face at 5950 meters. The next day, we continued along the ridge until we found a flat spot for Camp II. At 6:40 A.M. on November 8, we headed for the summit. There was first a 180-meter-high icefall. We kept on along the slope to the summit wall. In three pitches we got to a shoulder below the top and climbed three more pitches to the summit, which we reached at one P.M. My altimeter indicated 6310 meters (20,702 feet), although the official altitude was given as 7200 meters. It is certainly much lower than 7000 meters.

Fumitaka Sakurai, Chiba University Alpine Club, Japan