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Asia, Nepal, Kanjeralwa Attempt

Kanjeralwa Attempt. Our expedition was composed of Frenchmen Olivier Besson, leader, Guy Cousteix, Lukie Laurent and me from Spain. We were able to fly to the airstrip at Juphal, near Dunai. This lies only three or four days from Ringmo, the capital of Dolpo, situated on the most beautiful lake I have ever seen in the Himalaya. Kanjeralwa (6612 meters, 21,692 feet) lies in Phoksumdo National Park, east of the lake. We tried to reconnoiter the east face but found it inaccessible. We ascended the northwest face alpine-style on May 5. We set out at two A.M. with headlamps on a 40° slope. The slope is cut by a gigantic sérac barrier which obliged us to make a spectacular ascending traverse of some 200 meters. At five A.M. we made the exposed traverse on very hard ice. Once above the sérac, we could for a time follow a snow rib, which was the only place we could rest our feet. The rib then merged into the face. From there on, the slope steepened to 60° and 70° with pitches on transparent ice. There was not a single platform and changing leads was very uncomfortable. We continued up the face until we reached the ridge crest at 6400 meters. It was two P.M. Without going on to the summit, we descended the south face, bivouacking at 5100 meters. It was by the west face that Japanese led by Fumihito Watanable made the first and only other ascent of the mountain on April 23 and 24, 1973 after establishing five high camps.

Jordi Pons, Centre Excursionista de Catalunya, Spain