American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Nemjung (7,140m), West-Northwest Face and Upper West Ridge

Asia, Nepal, Peri Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Dougald MacDonald, Hiroshi Hagiwara, Elizabeth Hawley
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2010

Himalayan veteran Osamu Tanabe led an eight-member Shinshu University Alpine Club expedition to Himlung Himal (7,126m) and Nemjung. On October 14 Shin Egawa, Nobusuka Oki, Tokihiro Takizawa, and Jaya Prakesh Rai reached the summit of Himlung via the standard route up the west ridge. They were followed next day by Hiroko and Yasuhiro Hanatani, and Michihiro Kadoya. Less than two weeks later Kadoya, Yasuhiro Hanatani, Oki, and Tanabe made a two-day approach from the north to the base of the west-northwest face of Nemjung, bivouacking at ca 6,000m. On October 29 they started up the 1,000m face, climbing 18 60m snow and ice pitches until nightfall, when they bivouacked at 6,840m. The following day they reached the upper west ridge, continued to the summit, and returned to their bivouac. On the 31st they rappeled the face and returned to base camp. Forty-eight-year-old Tanabe has climbed Everest, K2, and other 8,000m peaks. In 2006 he climbed the south face of Lhotse in winter but did not continue to the summit. However, Nemjung was the first major Himalayan peak he has climbed alpine-style.

The only previous ascent of Nemjung was made in 1983 by Junji Kurotaki’s Japanese expedition, via the east ridge, approaching from the southwest. Prior to 1992 there was confusion distinguishing Himlung and Nemjung, and most teams attempting what they believed to be Himlung were in fact trying Nemjung. The west ridge may have been tried during that period, but it was definitely attempted in 1994 by Peter Hudd’s British expedition, which gained the ridge from the south, before retreating in bad weather from 6,370m. Subsequently several other expeditions attempted the ridge from both north and south sides without success, notably French teams in 2004 and ‘07, which reached higher than 6,500m.

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