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Asia, Tibet, Kabang, Attempt, and Naimona'nyi, New Route

Kabang, Attempt, and Naimona’nyi, New Route. On September 10, Kinichi Yamamori (leader), Masayoshi Matsudate, Yoshihide Higami and Mitsuru Ito left Narita Airport and travelled to Lhasa via Beijing and Chengdu. On September 17, Ayumi Nozawai, Tomoyuki Furuya and I (Hiroshi Iwazaki), who had traveled overland from Pakistan after a Spantik expedition, joined the others at Zhangmu. On September 18, we crossed the Ma La (5234m) in jeeps and on the 19th came to the village of Gun. On the 21st, we established Base Camp at 4700 meters in a meadow on the north side of Kabang (6717m). The weather was not good because of the monsoon. On the 24th, we set up Camp I on the Nasu Glacier at 5180 meters and on October 2 made CII on the shoulder of the east ridge at 6050 meters. On October 4, we fixed 13 pitches to 6450 meters. The next day we reached 6550 meters, where we were confronted by a crevasse band that forced our retreat.

On October 10, Mitsuru Ito departed for Japan. We traveled to Saga, located on the north bank of the Yarlung Zangbo (Tsangpo), and then continued on via Zhongba and Paryang, looking over the mountains on the border with Nepal. On October 12, we established BC (4700m) on the banks of the Gurla Chu.

On the 15th, we made an Advanced Base Camp at 5450 meters. Matsudate and Higami attempted to ascend Guna La (6902m), which is located to the north of Naimona’nyi (Gurla Mondata, 7694m) across the Naimona’nyi Glacier, and Nozawai, Furuya and I went together for the purpose of exploring the north side of Naimona’nyi.

On October 17th, we bivied on the Naimona’nyi Glacier at 6095 meters. On the 18th, we climbed up the West Ridge route and all of us succeeded in reaching the summit together at 2:14 p.m. The same day, we bivied again at 6095 meters and returned to BC on the 19th.

On October 22, we started at first light (8 a.m.) for a new route on Naimona’nyi. Nozawai, Furuya and I traversed the rock-scrambling slope and went through an ablation valley to the Support Camp at 6000 meters on the Naimona’nyi Glacier. Then, Matsudate and Higami moved to the Support Camp as a countermeasure against accidents. There, we picked up deposits and carried up our heavy rucksacks. We shook hands with Matsudate and Higami and left. We entered a branch glacier from the southeast side of the Naimona’nyi’s North Peak that we had explored while attempting Guna La. We went along the right side of the glacier for a while before crossing it and then continued on toward a col of the ridge between the main peak and north peak. The snow conditions were poor and the main difficulties were breaking trail in crusty snow. Nozawai and Furuya climbed up straight and I traversed right and ascended the contact line of rock and snow, and we reached the col. There, the whole of the north side of Naimona’nyi could be looked at. There was a serac which we had not been able to see before under the lower crevasse. Thus, we could not climb the north side directly. On this day, we stayed at 6380 meters just below a 6512-meter peak.

October 23 was a comfortable day. Although the serac was not so dangerous, we could not climb straight up and had to traverse to the right to avoid crevasses. We could not keep a rapid pace and gain altitude due to deep snow, and time passed. We went over two snowbridges and at last climbed up to the upper great snow slope. After a short break, we started to climb the slope where, fortunately, the snow was in good condition, and we managed to make a rapid ascent of the slope. We continued to climb toward the upper part of the north ridge. The great white slope was long as we had expected, and our pace slowed down when we were over 7000 meters. Then came dark. We made a slow ascent without rest in high winds and blowing snow. We established a camp site at 7205 meters in blowing snow; one- third of our tent was in the air. We spent a long night holding down the tent against the storm.

On the 24th, we overslept because of fatigue, and our start was very late. We were forced to go roundabout to the east face because we didn’t have rock pitons. The serac overhung the upper part of the face. Naimona’nyi threw a shadow upon the face. It was too late to climb the serac. Fortunately, we found a terrace on the face at 7410 meters that was wide enough to pitch a tent. We enjoyed the views of Tibet under fantastic moonlight.

The next morning, we found a weakness between a rock wall and an ice wall, but as we began climbing up, the slope became steep and our climbing pace slowed. The slope was over 75 degrees, thus we climbed with a rope for the last 50 meters. At last, we slipped out of the east face and climbed a gulley. Nozawai and Furuya climbed along the ridge and I traversed a snow face and climbed up. At 3:12 p.m., we reached the summit together, having completed a new route on the north side via the east face and the fourth ascent of the peak. Just after the ascent, we descended the Zaronmaromba Glacier on the west side and stayed at 6800 meters. On the 26th, we arrived at BC. After the climb, we drank in celebration of the ascent at Burang, and left for the pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash.

Hiroshi Iwazaki, Himalayan Association of Japan