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Asia, Nepal, Janak Himal, Janak, First Ascent

Janak, first ascent. After their ascent of the 7,090m northeast summit of Pyramid Peak, north of Kangchenjunga, Slovenians Andrej Stremfelj and Rok Zalokar made the coveted first ascent of Janak (7,041m) via the southwest pillar. The 1,150m route, climbed alpine style and almost as a single push, was mostly on hard glassy ice of poor quality (often quite brittle and covered by powder), with only six pitches over mixed terrain or pure rock. Apart from these six pitches, plus a committing two-pitch traverse beneath the headwall (sustained 70° ice), the pair moved together with two or three ice screws as running belays. They were surprised by the sustained nature of the route and by the difficulties on the top part of the wall. They made one bivouac at 6,800m, using a small tent but no sleeping bags or mats. Apart from having to climb back across the traverse, descent was made via 19 rappels, mostly from Abalakov anchors. Stremfelj felt the climb was more difficult than his first ascents on Menlungtse and Gyachung Kang, and only very slightly easier than a winter ascent of the Croz Spur. A full account of this expedition appears earlier in this Journal.