American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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The Mountaineers

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  • Publication Year: 1992

P 5886. On April 29, Canadian Barry Blanchard and I ascended the unclimbed west face of P 5886 (19,312 feet), which lies on the southwest ridge of Nuptse, northeast of Kongma Tse. We placed Base Camp at 4940 meters just west of the Kongma La and Camp I at 5200 meters. The climbing on the face began with two 45° icefields separated by a short rock-and-ice step. We then encountered three ice ribs which offered ice climbing up to 80°. Next we climbed a snow ramp leading left and completed three pitches on loose rock and snow. To gain the glaciated summit ridge, we ascended the last 250 feet of 75° ice. We were greeted with big smiles and cups of tea by two of our Sherpas, Tenzing and Dawa, who had climbed the glaciated ridge. We hiked along the summit ridge for 200 yards and were within 75 feet of the summit when darkness fell. A large crevasse at the base of the pinnacle and a short ice pitch separated us from the summit. Since it would have been less than prudent to continue in the dark, we regretfully descended the glaciated north ridge and an endless boulder field. We took 28 hours round-trip from Camp I.

James Scott

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