American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Kangchenjunga Region, Janak Himal, Dome Kang (Domekhan) (7,264m), First Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Dome Kang (Domekhan) (7,264m), first attempt. On Nepal’s border with Tibet, a six-member team of Spaniards were the first people to attempt a route on Dome Kang [see note below]. Its official name is Domekhan. Led by Carlos Soria, they made their base camp on April 18 at Pangpema, the normal base campsite for climbers going to Kangchenjunga’s north face, and approached Dome Kang from the south via the Jongsang Glacier, working their way over a difficult unsettled rocky area, and pitched their first high camp 14 km from and 800m higher than base, at 5,350m. Their aim was to reach the summit via the mountain’s east-southeast ridge.

They did gain the ridge, but were unable to follow it all the way to the summit. Their second camp was placed at a col, known as Jongsang La, on the ridge at 6,100m. They managed to move from there westward toward the summit, but finally stopped at 6,650m exactly one month after they had arrived at base. Now the clouds moved in covering the way ahead, and snow started to fall. And their time was running out.

From the Jongsang La the dge was a very complicated mixture of rock, snow, and broken pieces of ice, making it impossible to keep to the crest. They sometimes moved on the ridge itself, sometimes on its south side, and sometimes on the north side’s big hanging glacier.

On May 18 they realized that they did not have sufficient time left to spend four or five days more to solve the last 600 meters up to a plateau. They want to come back in 2005 to solve this problem and finish the climb to the top. They plan to follow the same route, but they will give themselves more to time to do it.

Editor’s note: In 1930, after reaching the summit of Jongsang Peak (7,483m), Gunter Dyrenfurth persuaded Lewa Sherpa to walk across the plateau and climb the south summit; 7,442m Dome Kang. Recently Dome Kang (officially opened by the Nepalese Government in 2002) appears to have been assigned to a lower (7,264m) snow dome east of the original Dome Kang, a little way down the latter's east southeast ridge leading to the Jongsang La. This difficult ridge above the La, attempted by the Spanish, was also visited in 1983 (Slovenians) and 1998 (Irish), who both noted it was far from straightforward.

Elizabeth Hawley, AAC Honorary Member, Nepal

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