Daddomain (6,380m), Ame ni mo Makezu

Asia, China, Daxue Shan, Minya Konka Range
Author: Hiroshi Hagiwara. Climb Year: 2011. Publication Year: 2012.

Giri-Giri boys Fumitaka Ichimura, Ryo Masumoto, and Takaaki Nagato made the first ascent of the east face of Daddomain, although the three originally planned a direct ascent of the imposing east face of Mt. Edgar (6,618m). After setting up base camp, the team endured 10 days of solid bad weather before heading up in drizzle for a reconnaissance. Unable to see the face on Edgar clearly, they returned but during the descent caught a glimpse of Daddomain at the head of the valley. They were captivated and decided to go for it instead.

From their advanced base at 4,100m, they left at 3:40 a.m. on April 20, crossed the bergschrund at the base of the central couloir at 4,400m, and climbed snow slopes unroped to 5,100m. Above, they belayed, though generally the rock was compact, so protection was sparse. Negotiating a long, narrow, unstable snow ridge took a long time, and not until 9 p.m. could they dig a small ledge in steep snow at 5,450m and make a sitting bivouac.

Next day the weather worsened, but the three continued their ascent at 8 a.m., climbing mostly over soft snow but with occasional vertical ice. Snowfall became heavier, and after a long day they made their second bivouac at 5,950m, keeping boots on inside sleeping bags.

The following day it snowed heavily. They started at 10 a.m. and climbed for five and a half hours to 6,100m, a little below the summit ridge. Here a serac provided shelter, and they stopped early.

On the 23rd they set out at 9:30 a.m. for the summit, but conditions proved too dangerous, so they returned to the bivouac. Weather improved on the 24th, but deeming the slopes above to be still avalanche prone, they sat tight, hoping things would settle.

On the 25th, in perfect weather, they left the bivouac at 7 a.m., climbed to the summit ridge, and continued to the top, arriving at 9:25 a.m. That day they descended the route, making 15 rappels, back to advanced base.

They have called the 1,900m climb Ame ni mo Makezu (ED1, WI4 M5R, 21 pitches), which roughly translates as “don’t lose out to the rain,” taken from a famous poem by Kenji Miyazawa, chosen to convey sympathy and greetings to all who suffered from the earthquake and tsunami. Daddomains only previous ascent was in 2004 by New Zealanders Jo Kippax and Sean Waters, who climbed the West Ridge.

From information provided by Hiroshi Hagiwara, Editor ROCK&SNOW, Japan

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