Dome Kang, east-southeast ridge, attempt. From September 7 to October 14 a six-member Spanish expedition (Elena Goded, Emilio Lagunilla, Guillermo Manana, Daniel Salas, Carlos Soria, and I) attempted the unclimbed Dome Kang (7,264m) in the northeast corner of Nepal. The approach to the mountain was done in classic style: three days by bus from Kathmandu to Taplejung, and then a seven-day trek from Taplejung via Ghunsa to base camp. We sited our base camp (5,330m) above Pangpema at Dyhrenfurth’s 1930 Corner Camp, one of the most impressive locations in the Himalaya (a trek to Corner Camp is highly recommended). We had nine days of very poor weather to start.
Camp 1 (5,950m) to Camp II (6,100m) is a nice three-hour walk on snow. We first went to the Jongsang La (6,145m) at the base of Dome Kang’s east-southeast ridge but found the initial part of the ridge, and the slopes on the Sikkim side, to be impossible. Instead, from Camp II we climbed a 400m gully up the south flank of the ridge to the crest (mixed terrain with UIAA IV+ rock and AI 4), fixing ca 500m of rope. Snow and ice conditions were treacherous, and the level of risk was high.
Once on the crest, conditions seemed dangerous, so we used the Sikkim side of the mountain to gain as much height as possible. We reached 6,700m, where even though we had enough strength, relatively good weather and four climbing Sherpas in good shape, we decided to abandon the attempt due to avalanche danger. As a consolation prize we were able to climb a beautiful 6,500m summit, which rises from the Jongsang glacier northeast of Camp 1 (and northwest of Pyramid Peak).
It’s our intention to return in Spring 2008 to finish the project. We have the advantage of knowing how to manage the logistics and we hope that the pre-monsoon season might provide better snow and ice conditions.
Salvador GarcÍa-Atance, Spain