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Asia, Nepal, Ganesh Himal, Paldor Peak Group, Attempts

Paldor Peak Group, Attempts. Sabine Krol and I were in the Ganesh Himal from February 12-March 6. Our goal was to make first ascents on mixed rock and ice faces on climbed and unclimbed peaks in the Paldor Peak group. Unfortunately, we had a lot of bad weather. We had blue sky and sun only in the mornings. By midday, clouds would arrive, and it would snow every afternoon and evening. Sometimes we had as much as one-and-a-half meters of new snow after four hours’ snowfall.

We and our 12 porters needed four days for the 35-kilometer approach. After the second day, we walked in deep snow; it was very hard for the porters. Because of the bad weather, it was not possible for the porters to reach the main group of Paldor Peak (5928m). Our Base Camp was established at 4300 meters approximately three kilometers south of Paldor Peak. Near BC were some steep rock peaks between 5200 and 5400 meters high.

West of BC stands a 5250-meter rock peak with a long east ridge. A small rock pinnacle interrupts this east ridge. A 350-to 400-meter high rock pillar leads to the top of this rock pinnacle. We attempted this rock pillar on February 22, climbing 350-to 400 meters of mixed, with (sometimes friable) rock to UIAA V-and snow/ice to 50° with one section of 70°. Approximately 50-80 meters below the summit of the rock pinnacle, we were stopped by heavy snowfall. We rappelled the route, leaving some pegs for rappelling.

Some days later, we attempted the unclimbed ca. 700-meter west ridge of a ca. 5380-meter rock peak east of Base Camp that looks like a pyramid. We reached the ridge via a small 300-meter north-facing couloir, encountering snow/ice from 50-65° and rock/mixed to IV-V. We climbed ca. 300 meters on the west ridge to a small rock pinnacle, where we were once more stopped by heavy snowfall. Difficulty on the ridge was up to V with some friable, loose rock. We tried the ridge two more times, but were stopped both times near the rock pinnacle by too much snow. We rappelled the west ridge and the north couloir, leaving some pegs behind.

After the last attempt on the west ridge, we left our Base Camp and walked back to the road in four days, then drove to Kathmandu. We removed our rubbish from the approach and BC and took it back to Kathmandu.

Eduard Birnbacher, Germany