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Thalay Sagar, North Face Attempt

From June 18 to 25, Enrico Rosso, Alessandro Vanetti and I climbed alpine-style the first 1000 meters of a new route on the buttress on the left side of the north face of Thalay Sagar (UIAA VII, 80° ice). We ascended the entire buttress from the northeast col, at the top of which we joined the 1983 Polish-Norwegian route just below the summit pyramid. We were stopped some 200 meters from the summit by the impossibility of belaying on the rotten rock and by bad weather. We had only 20 days for the whole climb, which left us, after acclimatization, only ten days for the ascent. From Advance Base at 4800 meters, we carried gear to the foot of the climb at 5300 meters. To begin the actual attempt, we bivouacked on June 18 at the base of the 50° couloir that leads to the northeast col at 5700 meters. The second bivouac was on the col. On the third day, we dropped our bivouac tent and had to descend to retrieve it. The third and fourth nights were on the col. On the fifth day, we climbed to an uncomfortable bivouac at 6300 meters. The next day, we continued in unsettled weather to a bivouac at 6500 meters. Despite threatening weather on June 25, we decided to leave our gear behind and try for the summit. Two pitches brought us to the base of the summit pyramid and two more toward the right headed us toward the easy snowy cap and brought us some 200 meters from the summit. There, the rotten rock and the weather drove us back to the bivouac. During the night, a furious snowstorm broke. Falling ice damaged the tent. In a lull, we descended a much changed wall plastered with snow. We were back at Advance Base by late that night.

–Giancarlo Ruffino, Club Alpino Italiano