Losar, ascent and possible future permit requirement. On January 10, 2006 Whit Magro and I climbed the stupendous frozen waterfall, Losar, which lies directly opposite Namche Bazaar. After 1½-hour approach, we took nine hours to reach the top, simul-climbing all but the last two crux pitches of the 700m route. The climbing was surprisingly moderate (WI3-4), with a little WI5 pillar at the top. We kept a steady, rather than frantic, pace and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It must be one of the greatest ice routes in the world. Over a dozen V-thread rappels got us back down in time for dinner in Namche.
We were in the region as volunteers for the Khumbu Climbing School, a program organized by the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (www.alexlowe.org), that strives to increase the safety of Nepali climbers and high-altitude workers through ice climbing, first aid, and English instruction. It seems that the only reason we got permission to climb the route was our affiliation with the ALCF. Jenni Lowe, President of ALCF, accompanied us to the park headquarters in Namche. After several hours of discussion and drafted letters, we received authorization. We learned that, shortly before our arrival, two Canadian climbers had been denied a go-ahead to climb the route, because they lacked a permit. Future parties should research the situation, as it may be that they will need a permit arranged and paid for prior to leaving Kathmandu.
On the 22nd Kris Erickson, Seth Hobby, and Renan Ozturk also climbed Losar. All three were affiliated with the ALCF and only received permission after protracted negotiations with park authorities.