American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Peak 6,010m, North Face and East-Southeast Ridge (Within 30m of Summit)

Nepal, Mahalangur Himal, Khumbu Section

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Angel Salamanca
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

Our original goal was to climb the north face of Lobuche West (6,145m). Joao Garcia and I approached up the Changri Nup Glacier from the village of Lobuche (ca 4,940m). Five hours of walking over difficult moraine took us to a base camp at 5,100m. We made our first carry on May 17 with 15kg sacks, rested at Lobuche on the 18th, and made a final carry on the 19th. That afternoon a large piece of Lobuche West fell off and swept the starting point of our proposed line. We changed our plan and instead went for Peak 6,010m on the ridge northwest of Lobuche West (between the latter peak and Nirekha).

We left the tent at 3 a.m. on May 20 and reached the snow cone at the foot of the 900m north face at 5 a.m. At first the snow was good (55–60°), but once the sun came up conditions worsened. We were carrying bivouac gear in order to spend a night on the summit and then traverse the ridge farther west to Peak 6,065m. The face steepened as we ascended and we reached a zone of flutes, similar to those found on Alpamayo in Peru. In this section we found very old, hard ice, at first 70° but occasionally up to 80°. In the last part it was such hard work with our heavy packs that we had to reduce our pitch lengths to around 10m to 15m.

We eventually reached the summit ridge, and it began to snow heavily. The final arête was sharp, and between rock outcrops seemed to be glaciated; the ridge was split by crevasses covered with newly fallen snow, and I fell into one crevasse. Beyond the last rock the final section was a dangerous and thin cornice. In poor visibility, we stopped approximately 30m away and 10m below the top.

Joao and I reversed the route. We were tired, slow, and dehydrated, and we finally reached our tent at 6 p.m. By next morning the snow had stopped, the sun came out, and we descended with all our equipment to Lobuche. There appears to be no recorded ascent of this peak.

– Angel Salamanca, Spain

Editor's note: Lobuche West, this team’s original goal, is infrequently climbed. The first known attempt on the north face took place in the first week of January 2010, when Andy Parkin and Victor Saunders (U.K.) climbed the right side of the face up 80° water ice to reach a hanging glacier, where they bivouacked at 5,500m. Next day they left their bivouac equipment and made a summit push, but turned around at 5,600m. While establishing base camp on the moraine below the mountain, Parkin had slipped and damaged his back. He now found himself moving too slowly to reach the summit and return to the bivouac in the day, so the two retreated.

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