American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Grosvenor (6,376m), East Face; Edgar (6,618m), West Face Attempt

Asia, China, Daxue Shan, Minya Konka Range,

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Vladimir Belousov
  • Climb Year: 2011
  • Publication Year: 2012

From mid-October to mid- November we were back in the Minya Konka Range for another attempt on Edgar by the unclimbed west face. Alexander Novikov, Dmitry Paramonov, Denis Shushko, and I spent two weeks exploring a way onto the glacier plateau between Jiazi and Edgar. To reach this we climbed to the col between Jiazi and Grosvenor from the west, fixing 200m of rope. We also acclimatized by climbing to 6,100m on the northeast ridge of Grosvenor. On October 29 we split into two parties and left base camp for our respective objectives; Dmitry and Denis for the east face of Grosvenor, and Alex and I for the west face of Edgar. It took three days for Alex and me to reach a camp below Edgar. During this period the weather became unstable, but we got a promising forecast by satellite phone. By 11 a.m. on the day of our attempt, however, the weather was bad, and we were fighting heavy spindrift. We retreated, having climbed over 400m of this 1,200m face.

The weather alternated one good day and one bad. Everything was wet, and our food was limited, but we decided to try again if the weather gave us another chance. Dmitry and Denis were lucky, as their attempt on Grosvenor was the day after, and the weather was perfect. They climbed the 700m face over steep snow and ice (14 pitches up to 70°), reaching the summit ridge at 6 p.m., just before sunset. They dug a small snow hole in the cornice and sat out the night. Next day it was still calm when they reached the summit at 9 a.m. Then the wind picked up, the clouds rolled in, and they descended. It took the rest of the day to reach camp at the foot of the face.

After two days rest at base camp, Alex and I tried the central couloir on Grosvenor s west face. However, it snowed non-stop for two days. We had run out of time and returned to pack up our base camp.

Vladimir Belousov, Russia

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