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Asia, Tibet, Himalaya, Palung RI, South Face

Palung Ri, south face. During my days spent acclimatizing for an ascent of Cho Oyu, I noticed a good line on the neighboring peak of Palung Ri (7,100m). I was working in this area as a guide, but bad conditions above 7,000m had confined us to base camp. The south face of Palung Ri is composed of steep snow and ice, interspersed with rock bands. It is not too difficult and offers good climbing in couloirs and mixed terrain. Higher up, the face becomes more open and leads to the summit ridge, where I found dangerous wind-blown snow and scary cornices.

I left base camp on the morning of September 19 and walked along the moraine to the bottom of the south face. I began climbing on rock and mixed terrain, with difficulties up to 4 and M4, and then continued up nice gullies with short steps of steep ice (80-90°). Difficulties were not sustained, just 10m of steep ground here and there in the long narrow couloir. Above this section the climb finished on snow and ice (50-60°) and became easier as I reached the summit ridge. I decided to descend the west ridge, as this led me closer to base camp, and the glacier at its base is not as crevassed as the one below the Palung La. I took only crampons, ice axes, energy food, and drink. I climbed alone and without a rope, completing the climb to the summit in a round trip of eight hours from base camp. I named the 900m route Jan. Although I had climbed solo in this style before, I had never done so in the Himalaya; it was a great experience.

Jordi Tozas, Spain