American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Lapche Kang II, East Spur and Southeast Face, Attempt

Tibet, Himalaya

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Krzysztof Mularski
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017


Lapche Kang II (7,250m, 28°18'01"N, 86°23'03"E) lies in the northern Himalaya, about 35km northwest of Cho Oyu, in a massif variously called Labuche Himal, Pamari Himal, or Lapche Kang. The highest summit, Lapche Kang I (a.k.a. Choksam, 7,367m), was first climbed in 1987 by a Sino-Japanese expedition. (American climber Joe Puryear died while attempting this peak in 2010.) The pyramid of Lapche Kang III (sometimes erroneously called Lapche Kang West or Lapche Kang II, 7,072m) was first climbed in 1995 by a Swiss expedition. Until 2016 no one had attempted Lapche Kang II.Maciej Przebitkowski, Jakub Rybicki, Jarosław Żurawski, and I arrived in Kathmandu on September 6. Although we had all the necessary documents for onward travel to Lhasa awaiting us at the Chinese consulate in Kathmandu, these were not released to two members; the authorities cited visas for Muslim countries in their passports. Eventually we were told it would be possible to continue to China in 10 to 12 days. Given the situation, we went trekking in Langtang and only flew to China on the 17th. We reached Tingri on the 20th, where we were told that, despite arrangements promised by the Tibet Mountaineering Association (TMA), we would not be allowed to approach the mountain from the north via the Choksam Glacier, which we had worked out to be the easiest route. Instead, we would have to come in from the east, up the East Lapche Glacier. We were driven to Cho Oyu base camp, and on the 23rd we started up the glacier.

An advanced base was established at 5,400m and Camp 1 at 5,500m. After fixing some rope up sections of WI2, we placed Camp 2 at 6,150m, below a rib leading to an upper terrace at 6,400m. This rib had sections of UIAA IV and snow to 60°. Camp 3 was placed a little above the terrace at 6,600m. From here, Jakub and I made a summit attempt on October 12, climbing a 65° snow/ice face to 6,907m (GPS), where we decided to retreat when we felt there was no chance of reaching the summit before nightfall.

Krzysztof Mularski, Poznań Mountaineering Society, Poland, supplied by Janusz Majer

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.

Photos and Topos Click photo to view full size and see caption