American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Nagoru East, West, and Central Peaks From the Southwest

Nepal, Peri Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Wolfgang Drexler
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

If somebody said you could still find 6,000m peaks in Nepal that were easy to approach, not technically challenging, and still unclimbed, would you believe them?

In 2013, I had planned to explore a new route on Chulu East, but several weeks before departure the German geographer Hannes Künkel published a short report about a recent trip to Phu, his exploration around an old village named Nagoru, and the three, still unclimbed, “Nagoru peaks.” Plans were changed immediately, and a first ascent of Nagoru West (6,076m, 28°51'7.21"N, 84°17'45.38"E), which I believed to be the easiest of the three, became the new goal.

My party established base camp among Nagoru’s old field terraces in late October, and the next day discovered a perfect place for an advanced base, 600m higher, at Nagoru Yak Kharka (4,900m). Setting out from this camp on the 30th, I climbed Nagoru West via its south slopes and upper southwest ridge in six hours, the summit turning out to be a bit of a disappointment as it had entirely lost its glaciation.In contrast Nagoru East (6,116m) is still covered by a rather substantial glacier. Approaching via the southwest ridge, we found a small rock gully behind the glacier that led nearly all the way up the south ridge, to just below the summit. The final stretch on the glacier did not pose many difficulties, and I am convinced that Nagoru East has the potential to become a popular “trekking peak.” On November 1, only 4.5 hours after leaving camp, I reached the top accompanied by two Sherpa climbers and fellow Austrian Birgit Walk.

In June 2016, I was excited to receive a short email indicating that the Ministry of Tourism had agreed to issue an official permit for a first attempt on the third and highest of the Nagorus: Nagoru Central (6,165m, 28°50'48.79"N, 84°18'6.36"E). However, when it came to finalizing the permit, just 10 days before departure, we were informed it could not be issued for Nagoru Central; no summit of that name was officially listed as an expedition peak. My partner dropped out, and after some deliberation I decided to go on my own.

After previously climbing to 5,600m and depositing ice axes and crampons above a tricky stretch of rock, my sirdar and I set out at 4 a.m., one hour before sunrise, on October 21, and arrived on the summit at 10:15 a.m. For both myself and my sirdar, who had been with me on the other Nagoru ascents as well, this represented a "hand in hand" effort—neither would have been there without the other. All three Nagoru peaks are now climbed, but there are similar summits still awaiting first ascents.

Wolfgang Drexler, Austria

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