Daogou (5,466m), northwest face
China, Qionglai Mountains, Siguniang National Park
On October 24 and 25, Jérôme Para and I made the first ascent of the ca 700m northwest face of Daogou (the higher and easterly of the two Daogou peaks). [See correction below.] On the 23rd, it took nine hours to walk from the main Shuangqiao Valley west of the peak to the bottom of the face, where we bivouacked. Next day we climbed unroped up 150m of easy snow slopes to reach the crux pitch, 50m of steep thin ice that we rated WI6 R. The pitch above also was not easy (WI5/5+), but then a broad couloir of deep snow led to a bivouac at ca 5,000m. On the 25th we started early, taking just one rucksack. We followed a long couloir with easy ice steps to the large rock barrier below the summit. We climbed this in 10 mixed pitches up to M5+. From the summit we made a rappel descent of our route, reaching the base of the mountain the same night.
Damien Tomasi, France
[The following note of correction from Pat Goodman (USA) was added in April 2015: The 2012 ascent of the northwest face was actually on a completely different mountain: Peak 5,383m on the southern rim of the Xiaogou Valley, east of Tan Shan. This unnamed summit was likely unclimbed before the 2012 French ascent.]