American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Upper Dolpo, Janak Himal, Ghhanyala Hies, Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

Ghhanyala Hies, attempt. A five-member ski expedition, which comprised Yan Andre (leader), Stephane Dan and Pierre Alexis de Postestad (French) and Thor Husted and Nathan Wallace (Americans), was the first officially to attempt Ghhanyala Hies (6,744m). This is a remote peak, on the Tibetan border northwest of Janak, that was brought onto the permitted list in 2002. It is believed this was only the second group planning to attempt the mountain, the first being two Americans who failed to reach it around 10 years previously.

The five made the normal Kangchenjunga north-side trek as far as Lhonak, arriving on October 10th. From there they branched left to reach the Lhonak Glacier, where on the 13th they established base camp at ca 4,980m. Over the next few days they followed the main Chijima (Tsisima) Glacier northeast to 5,500m, where on the 17th they established a higher camp. On the 21st they left this camp and climbed Chijima II (Tsisima II, 6,170m) via the northwest face [Editor’s note: This is the most northerly of the three Chijima peaks, the highest, on the far side of a 6,000m col to the southwest being 6,196m and the lowest, a little southeast of the highest, being 6,126m. The American-French team most likely followed the west branch of the Chijima Glacier and climbed northeast-facing slopes to the upper northwest ridge/face]. De Postestad turned back at 5,900m, but the remaining four continued to the summit and then skied back down (45-50°, excellent powder).

On the 23rd all members left the 5,500m camp and continued northeast up the main Chijima Glacier to its head at 5,850m, where de Postesdad and Mingma Tamang waited, while the others skinned across the horizontal glacier to the base of Ghhanyala Hies. All four climbed a 50-55° icy couloir to 6,150m, where the face above rose directly to the west-southwest ridge. Here they moved left but found more icy conditions. Their aim had been to ski down the mountain, but now they decided the slopes were too icy and the way ahead looked too difficult to climb up and down with their heavy packs, which included skis. They descended.

Elizabeth Hawley, AAC Honorary Member, Nepal and Richard Salisbury, The Himalayan Database

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