American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Pasang Lhamu Chuli, West Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Pasang Lhamu Chuli, West Ridge. Pasang Lhamu Chuli (7351 m), also known as Josamba 1 and Nangpai Gosum 1, was one of five new peaks opened for foreign expeditions in June, 1995. Its location is about five kilometers west-southwest of Cho Oyu. It was not easy for us to identify. Soon we learned it is nothing but a peak that has been known as Cho Aui and had already been climbed from the Tibetan side in 1986 by a Himalayan Association of Japan expedition. In the post-monsoon season of 1995, a Korean expedition tried from Nepalese side but was forced to retreat from a height of 6900 meters.

Our 1996 expedition, sponsored by the Osaka Alpine Club, aimed to climb this peak from the south or via the east ridge. On September 6, after irritated waiting in Kathmandu due to the prolonged monsoon weather of this year, the first flight brought us to Shangboche, and we stayed for three days at the Everest View Hotel. Then we proceeded to Thame village, where we spent seven more days at our sirdar Ang Phurba’s lodge for rest and acclimatization. We started for Chhule on September 16, and established our Base Camp (5400 m) on the central moraine of Nampa La Glacier. About one and a half tons of climbing gear and food had already been carried up to BC by a few Sherpas and local porters prior to our arrival. As the nearest couloir, which leads directly to the southern col (5720 m), and the Korean couloir up to the 6650-meter col, were both incessantly raked by big avalanches, we decided without hesitation to change our route to the west ridge. We placed Advanced Base Camp at 5600 meters at the foot of the west ridge near Nampa La.

On September 23, we began to make our way up the 6739-meter peak. After a week, on October 1, we pitched Camp 1 (6700 m) on the ridge just past this peak. Then, a temporary Camp II was placed near the second col (6250 meters) on October 9. The next three days were spent putting seven pitches of fixed rope on the knife-edged, “cock’s comb" ridge. It was the most difficult stage of the expedition.

On October 13, the first summit push was made from the temporary Camp II, but failed mainly due to lack of fixed rope and snowbars. All six members, including four climbing Sherpas, went down to BC for rest and supplies.

The second stage of climbing began on October 17. The next day, after a long, struggling traverse, we placed a new Camp II on the snow hump just behind Triangular Rock Peak (7100 m). As two climbing Sherpas returned in bad physical condition on the way, the remaining three occupied Camp III. It cleared up splendidly on October 19, and the temperature fell to 20°C. The proposed direct ridge route to the summit was abandoned because of its difficulty in passing through overhanging rocks. However, we found an alternative route that traversed to the right side. It seemed to be the most feasible route to avoid rock obstacles and get to summit ridge.

Three members, M.Tanigochi, T.Kitamura and a Sherpa, left Camp II at 7 a.m. After a few pitches climbing up the steep snow ridge, one Sherpa dropped out of the party with too much fatigue. Then we traversed about 300 meters to the right and were lucky enough to get to the last summit ridge, from where direct climbing up three more pitches led us to the real summit. We reached the top at noon.

The highest point was so small an ice pyramid as we could only hold it with our arms, not stand on it. We enjoyed an unexpectedly close view of Mt. Everest and lots of high peaks around us. Expedition members were Tamotsu Ohnishi (Leader, 54), Mamoru Taniguchi (48), Keiko Nishihira (44), Takehiko Yanagihara (35), Toshiyuki Kitamura (34), Ang Phurba Sherpa (Sirder, 36) and three others.

Tamotsu Ohnishi, Osaka Alpine Club

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