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Asia, Nepal, Kumbhakarna East Face Attempts

Kumbhakarna East, East Face Attempts. Vanja Furlan and I again attempted to climb the east face of Kumbhakarna East (7468 meters, 24,502 feet), which we had tried in 1991. (AAJ, 1992, page 4.) After an approach march of ten days, we got to Base Camp at 5100 meters on April 28. We made two acclimatization climbs to 5800 and 6500 meters on Kabru in the first week of May. At 5:30 A.M. on May 12, we started from a tent at the foot of the face. We crossed the East Kumbhakarna Glacier and at 7:15 began the climb at 5500 meters. We climbed until midnight and bivouacked 800 meters up the wall in an ice cave in the central sérac. We had belayed 11 pitches (1 of UIAA VII, 2 of VII-, 2 of VI+ and 6 of VI). We left the bivouac at one P.M. and by nine P.M. had climbed another 600 meters. We bivouacked in a crevasse. We belayed 8 pitches (1 of VI4- and the others of V to VI). On May 14, we were forced by a snowstorm to remain in the bivouac. Finally, at 6:30 A.M. on May 15, we proceeded in spite of unsettled weather. We decided to end the climb at noon at 7100 meters when we emerged from the face onto the southeast ridge. We had belayed seven pitches ( 1 of VII, 1 of VI+ and 5 of VI). At once we began the descent by rappeling the ascent route. At six P.M. we were back at the ice cave where we had had the first bivouac. We rested until eleven P.M. and continued the descent during the night. At six A.M. we were at the foot of the face. Dr. Matjaž Vrtovec was in support. A third Slovene attempt on the face, led by Dušan Debelak, was to have taken place after the monsoon. On September 20 during the approach, Damjan Vidmar drowned while bathing in the monsoon-swollen Kabela Khola. The expedition was abandoned.

Bojan Pockar, Planinska zveza Slovenije