American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Kyashar (6,770m), south pillar, attempt

Nepal, Mahalangur Himal, Khumbu Section

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Lindsay Griffin
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

In October 2011 Chamonix guides Mathieu Détrie, Pierre Labbre, and Jérôme Para made a spirited attempt on the south pillar, reaching the crest by a previously unclimbed line. The three acclimatized with a three-day ascent of Mera Peak, sleeping one night a little below 6,000m. Back at base camp Para felt ill and feverish, but by October 23 he was ready for an attempt at Kyashar, and the three set off for a bivouac near the foot of the southwest face, carrying food and gas for five days. Their proposed line to reach the crest of the south ridge lay between Ramro Chaina and the Czech attempts, following sections of mixed terrain interspersed with snowfields.

On the 24th, after an initial section of easy snow, a three-pitch vertical buttress proved time-consuming. By the end of the day they had climbed 700m, continuing three hours into the night before reaching a suitable bivouac. Para again felt bad and was sure he would have to descend, but the next morning he seemed considerably improved, and the three decided to continue.

The 25th provided much difficulty, with steep bands of rock and snow, the latter quite difficult to protect. By nightfall, they had only added 200m. Next day, more difficult mixed climbing and steep snow slopes led them up the crest of the pillar to a height reported to be ca 6,350m, but seemingly considerably lower than the Japanese "6,350m bivouac". Here, they were forced to make a sitting bivouac, ca 1,200m above their start point at the foot of the face. Above, it appeared that only a further 300m of difficulty, followed by 100m of snow, barred access to the summit.

The night was clear and they slept little. By the following morning Para felt grim, with no energy or motivation. Détrie was little better, while Labbre felt fine. However, Para decided it would simply be too risky for him to continue in his weakened state, particularly as the way off from the summit would not be straightforward. All agreed, and a rappel descent took the rest of the day. The three arrived at base camp that evening, five days after leaving, having reached a point on the pillar far higher than any previous party. The climbing had been good, ED in standard, and with the rock often of fine quality. The route recalled the north face of the Eiger, with many traverses.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO

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