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Lenak Valley, L10 (6,165m), north face and east ridge, first official ascent; L11 (6,045m), attempt

Young students Yuchiro Iida, Shimpei Kubota, Kensei Mitsui, Tomoyuki Takayama, and I as leader arrived in Darcha on August 18 and then took the road that is being constructed over the Shingo La to Padam. We walked to aid acclimatization, and after eventually turning west into the Lenak Valley, took the right branch and established base camp at 5,100m. We fixed five ropes up the icy north flank of the east ridge of L10, rested on September 1, and on the 2nd left camp at 1:30 a.m. and from the top of the ropes climbed another 150m to the ridge. Broken rock and hard snow led to the summit. To our surprise this “virgin” summit sported remains of old and ragged prayer flags.

On the 4th we established a new advanced base at 5,400m below L11, which lies to the east of L10 [photo in AAJ 2012]. We climbed the north face to the east ridge, finding that once the sun hit the face, conditions deteriorated badly and rockfall was frequent. Once on the crest we saw that two large crevasses, which would force a long detour, barred direct access to the summit.

Taisuke Ohori, Japanese Alpine Club, supplied and translated by Tamotsu Nakamura, AAC Honorary Member