In November, Tino Villanueva and I (USA) spent the month making seven first ascents in Rolwaling. Five of these were water ice and mixed climbs above the main Rolwaling and Yalung valleys. We also repeated several previously established ice climbs. Maximum difficulties were WI5 M6.
We also climbed a likely new route on the west face of Pt. 5,766m, a small peak more or less on the watershed ridge between Chugimago (6,258m) and the Yalung La (5,310m), its south ridge running gently into the broad snow slopes between Chugimago and Ramdung (5,930m). A somewhat steeper north ridge falls toward the lake in the upper Yalung valley. There are cairns on the top. [The peak may have been climbed by the 1952 Scottish expedition, which made the first ascent of both previously named peaks, including Ramdung from the north]. We estimate we climbed between 200m and 300m of mixed terrain on the west face before joining the north ridge, which we followed to the summit (ca 600m, M4 X).
On November 14 we shouldered eight days food and fuel and, leaving the village of Na, headed up the Drolambo Glacier to attempt the unclimbed north ridge of Tengi Ragi Tau (6,938m). It took two days to reach the ca 5,890m col between Langmoche Ri, a peak that must be traversed to access the north ridge of Tengi Ragi Tau, and Pimu (a.k.a.Pamalka, 6,344m). Access to this col was straightforward from the west, via 40° snow slopes and easy crevasse navigation. Next day we made the first recorded ascent of Langmoche Ri via its northwest ridge. The ca 650m route had sustained pitches of 80° X snice and two overhanging cornices. Much of the climbing was between 70 and 80°, and very aerated. Pitches were 40-60m, and we placed only one piece of intermediate protection on the whole route; a marginal screw below the final overhanging cornice. On the summit high winds and low temperatures prevented our continuation toward Tengi Ragi Tau.
Due to its length and poor condition, we decided not to descend the northwest ridge of Langmoche Ri. Instead, we took a gamble and rapped directly down the north face, starting over the cornice that overhangs it. After five 60m rappels, we were able to traverse back to the col, 12 hours after leaving. [The northwest ridge was attempted in 2004 by Japanese and their Sherpas, who failed at ca 6250m due to difficulty and lack of protection. They reached the col from the east.]
Alan Rousseau, AAC