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Tha Nagphu, North Ridge; Sharphu I, Attempt

Sharphu is a collection of peaks on a north-south ridge to the west of Kambachen, forming the watershed between the Ghunsa and Yangma valleys. Well to the north lie the peaks of Sato (6,176m) and Nupchu (6,044m); to the south is the Nango La, a pass on an established trail between Ghunsa and the Yangma Khola (valley).

There are six main summits in the group. From north to south these are Sharphu V (6,076m), II (6,328m), I (6,433m), VI (6,158m), III (6,220m), and IV (6,164m). Only the main summit, Sharphu I, is known to have been climbed: In 1963, Japanese climbers approached via the Sharphu Glacier to the southeast and climbed the south face and ridge. Takao Ishinabe, Chihura Miyamoto, and Yuzo Tatsumi were the first to reach the summit, on October 22, after fixing 1,000m of rope. Older maps sometimes refer to these peaks as the Tanga Group, with Sharphu III named Marson. On the ridge northwest of Sharpu V stands Tha Nagphu (5,980m).

In April, María Pilar Agudo Fernández, José Luis Guzmán (both from Spain), Juan Pablo Sarjanovich (Argentina), and Pasang Sherpa (Nepal) set base camp at Kambachen with the aim of exploring these mountains. They attempted Sharphu I via the Sharphu Glacier to the southeast, reaching Camp 2 at 5,700m and finding the glacier to be much larger than depicted on their map.

They also went up the Nupchu Khola to look at some east faces of the Sharphu Group. From here they climbed Tha Nagphu via the glacier to the northeast and eventually the north ridge. They established Camp 1 below the glacier at ca 4,900m, four hours’ walk from Kambachen, then climbed past the small lake of Nupchu Pokhari to reach the glacier, which is much smaller than it appeared on their map. They crossed the glacier to the north ridge, climbed a 60° snow ramp followed by an 80° rock step, went up 150m of snow at 50°, and finished with a ramp of 80° snow and ice. [Agudo prepared a report (in Spanish) showing various faces in this area, proposed routes, and map modifications. It can be found here.]

– Lindsay Griffin, with material supplied by María Pilar Agudo, Spain, and the Himalayan Database