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Asia, Nepal, Upper Dolpo, Kumbhakarna Himal, Merra, Second Known Ascent, New Route

Merra, second known ascent, new route. During their acclimatization for Jannu, Valery Babanov and Sergey Kofanov made an ascent of 6,334m Merra in the Anidesh Himal directly north of the Kumbhakarna Glacier. The mountain received its first known ascent in October 2006, by Thejs Ortmann and Claus Ostergaard from Denmark. From an advanced base at 4,700m on the Kumbhakarna Glacier, they followed the left (west) flank of a moraine-covered glacial valley leading northwest towards Merra. They placed their first camp at 5,450m, below the start of a rocky arÍte splitting the glacier beyond into two flows. The easterly flow leads towards the upper section of the east-northeast ridge and was the one followed. Ostergaard climbed the southeast flank of the east-northeast ridge solo to reach the crest at around 6,200m, above which a sharp crest led back left to the summit (see AAJ 2007).

The two Russians followed the bed of the moraine-covered glacial valley, crossing the Danish approach below the rocky arÍte and continuing on the westerly glacier flow. There was much snow on the mountain, and the weather was poor, with snow every afternoon. On October 5 they pitched a small tent at 5,700m and the next day took it with them on their summit attempt. Continuing up the glacier, they climbed the southeast face directly below the main summit to reach a small shoulder on the east-northeast ridge at 6,200m, where they pitched the tent. Their arrival point on the ridge was much closer to the summit than Ostergaard’s the year previous. The Russian pair then continued to the top and returned to the tent for the night. The final 300m was sharp and had to be climbed carefully. The total time for the ascent from the 5,700m camp was nine hours. The climbers regained base camp on the 7th.

From information supplied by Sergey Kofanov