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Asia, Tibet, Bhutan Himalaya, Lhozhag Region, Kula Kangri, West Ridge Attempt

Kula Kangri, west ridge attempt. A French commercial expedition jointly led by lean Annequin and Ludovic Challeat attempted the west ridge of Kula Kangri from its base. Previous parties (there have been three ascents: Japanese in 1986, Austrians in 1994, and Spanish in 1997) appear to have followed the 1986 Japanese first ascent route, which short cuts the initial steep lower section of the ridge by climbing up the northern flank. However, this is more prone to avalanche and exposed to serac fall. The first section of the ridge to a camp at 6,200m (the point where the Japanese reached the crest from the left flank in 1986) had already been opened by the 2004 Japanese expedition [mentioned above] and the French added a few more ropes to those placed by the Japanese. Five hundred meters of rope were fixed on this section, which had one 20m step up to 80°. On the 6th October they occupied Camp 3 at 7,000m but more bad weather produced significant snow fall and the team abandoned their attempt, making a difficult and dangerous descent through the fresh snow.

This was a large expedition, half the members being trekkers with little in the way of altitude experience. They had official permission from the CTMA to trek in the lower Kuru Chu (valley) but when they arrived the Chinese Army would not allow them to do this, so all members had to trek close to their base camp.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, CLIMB magazine