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Asia, Tibet, Himalaya, Yalaxianbo (6,635m), First Ascent

Yalaxianbo (6,635m), first ascent. The Yamagata Mountaineering Federation (northern Japan) made the first ascent of Yalaxianbo, near the border with Bhutan, to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2007. This peak is located at 28°45'N, 91°50'E, 135km south of Lhasa in the Shannan Prefecture of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Among the local Tibetan people Yalaxianbo means “a holy peak” where the gods abide. It is the highest mountain in the headwaters of the Yarlung Valley.

A party from the federation headed by Yoshiki Itoh first attempted Yalaxianbo via the north ridge in August and September 2001. They were stopped by bad weather. In May 2006 Inaizumi and Takahashi made a reconnaissance of the east face from the Gayue Valley. The 2007 expedition was comprised of Masahiko Inaizumi (leader), Toshinori Kasuya (deputy leader), Makoto Takahashi (climbing leader), with six other Japanese members and four Nepalese Sherpas.

The team reached Lhasa from Xining by the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Railway, and on September 20 arrived at Chudagong village at the foot of Yalaxiabo. On September 23, after the Sherpas arrived, they started ferrying loads to base camp. No pack animals (donkeys) were available. BC was established at 4,750m, and Cl was set up at 5,250m, from which route-fixing commenced. On October 6 C2 was placed at 5,600m on the rocks, C3 at 5,850m on the snow plateau. [The route climbs the northeast aspect of Yalaxianbo to the snow plateau, then bears left (south-southeast) to a steep snow wall, then sharply right (west-northwest) to the main summit—Ed.] On October 16 Takahashi, Yoshida, and Phunuru Sherpa stood on the summit, before returning to C3. On October 18 they left BC for Lhasa, and on October 22 the ChinaMountaineering Association held a party in Beijing to celebrate the first ascent.

Tamotsu Nakamua, Japanese Alpine News