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Asia, Nepal, Mahalangur Himal (Khumbu), Khumbu, Peak 41, First Ascent

Khumbu, Peak 41, first ascent. In the middle of October a Slovenian expedition of six climbers made the first ascent of Peak 41 (6,654m). After an acclimatization on Mera peak, Ales Kovac and Bostjan Jezovsek found a reasonably good approach to the great plateau below the west face of Peak 41, and climbed the rock slabs and a snow gully left of hard broken icefall. Next morning they started to climb the west face but after 150m they went back all the way to base camp due to the bad weather. After a week-long period of bad weather the party of three climbers—Matic Jost (the leader of expedition), Uros Samec, and I—set out from base camp and reached the great plateau. Next morning (October 15), we started to climb at 3 a.m. and found quite bad snow conditions on the wall because of very soft snow. The bad conditions forced us to climb near rocks, so we could make better belays. Because of the bad conditions and more steep terrain in the upper part of the wall (60°-80°), and the windy and cold weather, we needed 19 hours of continuous climbing to reach a small col left (north) of the summit, where we bivouacked at 6,500m. Next morning, still in cold wind and terrible snow conditions, we needed another hour and a half to climb the exposed ridge (50°-65°) above the west face and reach the summit of Peak 41 (6,654m). After several abseils and downclimbing, we reached our tents on the plateau below the face that evening.

The same day (October 16) the other party (Ales Kovac, Matej Kovacic, and Bostjan Jezovsek) reached only 6,000m on the north ridge due to very soft snow. They rested the next day on the plateau and on October 18 they went on the face and climbed a new route to the right of our party’s line. When they reached the same col left of the summit (6,500m) at 4 p.m., they were caught by a strong snow storm, so they went down immediately. After some problems with avalanches on their descent, they successfully reached the tents on the plateau late in the night and the next day came down to the base camp.

After four previous unsuccessful expeditions to Peak 41 (Japanese, Finnish-American, New Zealand, and Finnish), the Slovenian expedition managed to climb two new routes on the west face of Peak 41 and reached the summit of the virgin mountain. Both of the routes are 1,000m high (from the plateau) and rated at V, 4 or TD+ (55°-80°) with a climbing approach to the plateau (500m, 40°-70°), so all together 1,500m of climbing. For more information, visit: http://41.ice-climbing.net.

Urban Golob, Slovenia