Asia, Nepal, Rolwaling Himal, Tengkangpoche (6,487m), Northeast Face, Moonlight

Publication Year: 2009.

Tengkangpoche (6,487m), northeast face, Moonlight. In November Hiroyoshi Manome and Yasushi Okada made the long-awaited first ascent of the northeast face of Tengkangpoche. The pair, who in 2006 made the third ascent of Meru Central, made base camp in a Tenpo Village lodge, acclimatized from October 31 to November 3 with an ascent of Parchamo, and on November 9 reconnoitered the initial, rocky, left crest of the central (north) pillar, reaching 5,050m. This involved sections of difficult climbing, sometimes using rock shoes and two ice tools, which was particularly effective on vegetated ground. They left two ropes on the difficult pitches and descended.

Manome and Okada began a serious attempt alpine style on the 12th, making their first bivouac on a terrace at 5,000m. Next day they stepped left onto the northeast face and made rapid progress, thanks to their acclimatization, bivouacking at 5,650m. Hoping to reach the summit the next day, they left their bivouac equipment and set off up the icefield above. It proved surprisingly big, and they were forced to bivouac without gear at 6,150m, sitting on a carved snow ledge. During this day, they found an old piton at 5,750m [likely from the French team of Walfroy Constant, Henri Faup, Severin Marchand, Pierre Pipon, and Hervé Qualizza, which reached 6,100m in 2002]. The night proved intolerably cold, forcing them to resume climbing with headlamps at 3 a.m. After pitching the upper icefield for six hours, most of this time threatened by summit cornices that occasionally shed ice blocks, they simulclimbed to the east ridge, from where it was only a short distance to the top. Carrying no water and dehydrated, they reached the summit at 10:45 a.m. It was covered with dangerously unstable sugar-snow, and they took turns standing on top. After an efficient series of rappels with their 80m rope, they were at the bottom of the face by 12:30 a.m. on the 16th, collecting their remaining gear before descending to Tenpo the same day. They graded the 1,900m route, Moonlight, ED.

At the same time countrymen Kenji Arai and Takaaki Nagato were attempting another route, farther left on the northeast face. They started up the big couloir left of the obvious quasi-vertical ice streaks on smooth granite walls, then slanted right up steep, difficult ground, eventually retreating a short distance below the east ridge at 6,250m.

Tsunemichi Ikeda, Editor, Japanese Alpine News and Yasushi Okada, Japan