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Asia, Nepal, Gurja Himal, First Spanish Ascent

Gurja Himal, First Spanish Ascent. From August 25 until October 4 the first Spanish expedition to Gurja Himal (7193 m) in the Dhaulagiri region of Nepal took place. The group (Pedro Nicolás, Leader, and Jose L. Fernández, Club Peñalara de Madrid; Inmaculada Fernández, Club Mulhacén de Granada; Salvador García Atance, Javier Madejón, and Juan Martínez, Club Horma de Madrid; Miriam Ferrer, Expedition Doctor; Eduardo Martínez de Pison, Geographer; and Javier Ferreira) was formed by six climbers, a doctor, a scientist and a companion. The trekking started in Baglung, in the Kali Gandaki Valley, on August 30, with almost 60 porters. The Base Camp was established, after 10 days of trekking, at 4350 meters in the Kaphe Kola Valley. This camp is the same for Churen Himal, Dhaulagiri VI, and Gurja Himal.

On September 13, one of the climbers had to be evacuated to Kathmandu by helicopter due to pneumonia, and he was accompanied by another member. So, the climbing team was reduced to four members.

The climb followed the route of the 1969 Japanese expedition during the first ascent of the peak. CI was established at 4950 meters on the Kaphe-Kola Glacier. C II, at 5800 meters, was set up on September 18 on a ridge, just on the top of a rocky buttress that rises from 5000 meters up to 5750 meters. During the climb of this buttress we found fixed ropes, but most of them had to be replaced since they were in very bad condition. We put almost 500 meters of new ropes on this section.

From CII we had to descend almost 100 meters down to a three-kilometer plateau. We had carried snow pickets for this section, but found them to be worthless. The plateau took us to the bottom of the Gurja Himal pyramid. From here to the summit we found very deep snow, which made the ascent very strenuous. We put CIII at 6100 meters on September 19 on the northwest side of the pyramid. The next day, with good but very cold weather, we left CIII for the summit at 4 a.m. By 11 a.m. we reached the west ridge at 6800 meters. Here, we could see the impressive 3000-meter-plus south face of the Gurja Himal, which remains unclimbed.

At this point two of the climbers decided to return to CIII due to the deep snow. The two others kept climbing the ridge. At 2 p.m. Pedro Nicolás, the team leader, reached the summit, where he stayed for a few minutes. On the descent he met Jose L. Fernández, and both together decided to turn around and go down. After a short rappel Fernández fell 300 meters down the steep north face, creating a snow avalanche. Due to the deep snow he suffered only minor injures. Both climbers reached CIII by 6 p.m. The next day the four climbers descended to BC. On September 26 the group started the return, reaching Baglung four days later.

Pedro Nicolás, Club Peñalara de Madrid