Nampai Gosum I, south summit. The Japan Workers Alpine Federation and the Nepal Mountaineering Association attempted to make the first ascent of Nampai Gosum. The joint expedition was organized to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Japan and Nepal.
The Nampai Gosum peaks lie on a high ridge forming the Tibet-Nepal border, and confusion often surrounds their nomenclature. The most westerly peak, previously referred to as Jasamba, was renamed Pasang Lhamu Chuli (7,350m) by the Nepalese. It was first climbed in 1986 by a party from the Himalayan Association of Japan [see the previous entry in this report]. There are three other high tops that lie on the long ridge connecting Pasang Lhamu Chuli and Cho Oyu. After discussions with Ang Tsering, President of the NMA, we applied the names Nampai Gosum I, II, and III to these peaks and the Nepal Tourist Board accepted our proposal. The official Nepalese maps now show Nampai Gosum I (the most westerly of the tops and sometimes referred to as Cho Aui) as 7,321m, II as 7,296m, and III, the nearest to Cho Oyu on the latter’s southwest ridge, as 7,488m. All are officially unclimbed.
Our objective was Nampai Gosum I (7,321m) and we set up base camp on October 3 at 5,250m on the Sumna Glacier. I, at 64 years of age, was overall leader, but Da Gombu Sherpa took the role of climbing leader and his team comprised Kazuo Kozu from Japan and Sherpas, Lam Babu, Mingma Dorje, Pasang Lhamu, and Pemba Dorje. Crossing the glacier, we set up Camp 1 (5,650m) on October 6, placing it on an island of mud and rocks forming the base of the south ridge of Nampai Gosum I. From here we dropped onto the glacier, which provided a difficult route through complicated crevasse formations and unstable seracs to reach a rocky gully leading up to the lower snow crest of the south ridge.
The crest was occasionally interrupted by steeper snow steps and generally in excess of 45°. On October 14 we established Camp 2 on a flatter part of the ridge at 6,200m. Above, we climbed a huge snow face, which steepened to 60° above 6,500m. As we ran short of snow anchors the belay points used to secure our fixed rope had to be placed more than 100m apart.
We established Camp 3a at 6,800m on the 24th and one day later Camp 3b at 7,050m. Between these two the ridge became steeper and featured several rocky barriers, so we moved out left and set up camp below a 40° snow slope leading up to the south summit. To this point we fixed a total of 2,600m of rope. The following day, the 26th, all seven members progressed carefully up the final slope and reached the 7,240m South Summit. Although the main summit is less than 100m higher and, according to the map, situated only 400m distant, it looked a lot farther, so we decided to go down from this point.
Kazuyoshi Kondo, Japan