American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
Black Diamond Logo

Karbu Ri, South Face and Southwest Ridge (First Officially Recorded Ascent)

Nepal, Rolwaling Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Brian Jackson
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

In November, I led a 13-member team to attempt Karbu Ri (White Peak, 6,010m GPS), which I named after a reconnaissance to the area in April the same year. This peak lies on the Nepal-Tibet border at the head of the Rolwaling (a.k.a. Ripimo Shar) Glacier, between the towering peaks of Langdung (6,326m) and Khang Kharpo (a.k.a. Ripimo Shar, 6,646m).

We trekked along the main Rolwaling valley via Simigaon, Beding, and Na before heading north onto the Rolwaling Glacier to Dudh Pokhari, then to base camp at 5,115m (27.929210°N, 86.496606°E) and a high camp at 5,345m (27.940700°N, 86.496048°E) on glacial moraine. This took eight days, including two rest days.

On November 16, 10 of the team (Phillip Absolon, Heather Bentley, Ben Brittain-Dodd, Catherine Cameron, Tom Carrick, Tom Furey, Catherine Husted, Kieran Toner, Simon Wooller, and I, along with Dawa Rita Sherpa, Mindu Sherpa, Mingma Dorje Sherpa, and Manal Gurung) set off at 2 a.m. for the summit. The route led through a 150m dry icefall onto a heavily crevassed, snow-covered glacier on the south face. This led to a col (5,700m GPS) on the frontier ridge, west of the peak, via 30–70° snow ramps. We used 600m of fixed line to protect the route through the glacier to the col.

From there we walked along the southwest ridge. There are two summits, one on the border, which is higher by about 50m, and one to the south. We chose to summit the north peak, which is split into two small snow domes 10m from the summit by a large crevasse running east to west. The crevasse was negotiated by descending its length and crossing a snow bridge before climbing back up to the summit dome, which was heavily corniced. We all reached the top at 9 a.m. (PD, 27.954571°N, 86.494203°E).

Brian Jackson, Expedition Wise Ltd., U.K.

Editor's note: Although the expedition believed this to be the first ascent, both summits of the peak were climbed in 1955 by Alf Gregory and Ted Courtenay. It was also known to have been climbed in 2005 by Paul Hartmann, Monika Hronsky, Bruce Normand, Marco Scarsi, Beatriz Vidondo, and Oliver von Rotz. Neither of these parties gave the peak a name. It has no spot height on the HMG-Finn map, but the north summit is recorded as 5,965m on the Schneider map. The summit is not yet on the list of opened peaks.

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