On October 22, after a three-day trek from Lukla, Tony Stone and I arrived at Tangnag (4,300m), a collection of tea houses that has grown over the years due to the popularity of nearby Mera Peak. We made base camp here and then set about acclimatizing on Mera. Tony suffered from the altitude at high camp and decided to descend while I continued to the south summit.
We had planned to reach the upper south pillar of Kyashar via the mixed ground directly below, left of the large rock wall above Tangnag. This was the way taken by Czech parties that reached the start of the upper pillar in 2001 and 2008 (AAJ 2009). However, this autumn there was no trace of the ice the Czechs had used, just blank granite and rubble-strewn ledges. Instead, we decided to find a line through the rock wall that forms the base of the ridge.
We left Tangnag at 6:45 a.m. on November 3 and scrambled up to the start of the main climbing at 4,890m. Dirty slabs, steep grass, rock steps, and an exit gully led to three long and very loose pitches of British HVS, the last being particularly bold. Broken ground, followed by a 200m rightward-trending fault line, led to the final rock band and snow slopes at 5,500m, where we bivouacked. Next day we climbed a small glacier to reach the snow ridge leading to the upper pillar. Unfortunately, Tony was still struggling to acclimatize and did not feel up to continuing, so we bailed at 5,700m, 100m below the start of the upper pillar. We descended by down-climbing and five rappels and were back in Tangnag at 3 p.m.
We organized our expedition through Loben Expeditions (lobenexpeditions.com). They provide a first-class and personal service, and we would recommend them highly to anyone planning a trip to the Himalaya, trekking or climbing. We are also grateful to the financial support provided by the BMC and Alpine Club Climbing Fund.