American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Bhutan Himalaya, Nyainqentanglha East, Jiequinnalagabu (Namla Karpa) (6,316m), First Ascent

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

Jieqinnalagabu (Namla Karpa) (6,316m), first ascent. We met our staff and got our permit for Tibet in Kathmandu on August 16. The first plan was to go to Kajaqiao, but when we arrived in Lhari we had problems with the road, the yaks, and the yak drivers. So we returned to Lhasa and changed our plan. We started a new trip to the Basong Lake with the goal of climbing Jieqinnalagabu [also known as Namla Karpo]. We went by jeep to Zhonggo and then we put our base camp at the second lake at the base of the mountain (3,800m). For a week it rained. But we tried to find a way up to the base of the northwest pillar, and after a while we cut a way in the forest so we could put the ABC at 4,700m. And now we had to wait for good weather in order to summit. One morning the rain stopped but it was still cloudy. We started to climb, just one hour, to get an impression of the mountain. My two friends decided not to climb to the summit. So we came down to the ABC. The next day the weather cleared and my two friends went down. I decided to try to reach the summit alone. I thought it’s wrong to give up without seeing if there was a real problem in front of me. My goal was to climb until it would be too hard or too dangerous for me to solo. The plan was to climb the 1,600 meters to the summit in one day and then down to ABC: so it would be solo and alpine-style, a dream for me!

The next morning I started to climb at 1 a.m. I started so early because of the smooth and dangerous snow in the afternoon. The first 300-400 meters was easy, but then the difficulties began. The first 800 meters of the northwest pillar were rock and then 800 meters of ice. The first part of the rock was U1AA II1-1V, not too difficult. On the last 200 meters of the rock I had to follow exactly the edge of the pillar because of bad conditions on the face. There where some difficulties in UIAA V and one bit of UIAA VI/VI+. To climb in this altitude in the night with this difficulty and solo, for me it was a big challenge!

After the rock it was definitely day and I could take off my headlight. The ice was at first 50° degrees and afterward 60°-70°. This part I could climb on the face to the right of the pillar. The last 200 meters became steeper and steeper and I had to traverse left across nearly vertical 85° back to the ridge. After a bad cornice I reached the summit. For me it was a great feeling to be the first on this mountain and to climb the first mountain in this part of the Nyainqentanglha, but this feeling only lasted a short time because I was worried about the descent. My biggest problem was not having snow-stakes. So I had to climb backward down the steep snow. Once in the ice it was better—there I could use my ice axes. So I climbed everything down to the rocks and then 1 began with rappels. The easier rock-part I had to climb down, to win some time. At 6 p.m. I reached the ABC and I was very happy to see my friends. They decided to go down to the base-camp at 3,800m the same evening and so I went with them. I was very happy that they could help me to carry some equipment. At 10 p.m. I arrived the base-camp at the lake. I was very tired but also very happy!

Gabriel Voide, Switzerland

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