American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Korlang Pari Tippa South, West Face and South Ridge

Nepal, Rolwaling Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Brian Jackson
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

In November, Rob Boulton, Joe O'Connor, Mark Rowland, Ian Stead, Dan Walker, and I, led by Dawa Rita Sherpa and Mindu Sherpa, made the first ascent of the remote Korlang Pari Tippa South (5,738m) on the Tibetan border. This was my third visit to the Rolwaling, though my first to the north-south-oriented valley leading toward Lapche Monastery. Arriving at Lamabagar after 11 hours of very bumpy off-road driving, we pitched our tents and began the routine of wild camping that nine days later placed us at advanced base camp.

On the first day of the approach we had to machete through bush, build temporary bridges over watercourses, and climb around large rockfall caused by the devastating 2015 earthquakes. Thereafter it became much easier, as there is a well-walked path between the villages of Lumnan and Lapche.

At the monastery the valley opens to reveal the unclimbed summit of Chomo Pamari (6,109m) and other 6,000m peaks on the Tibetan border. The valley also splits, with both branches leading into Tibet. We took the right (northeast) branch and then climbed 700m north up the steep, unforgiving flank of a side valley to a plateau, and our base camp at 4,800m (28°08’34”N, 86°11’32”E). We spent two days there before moving to advanced base (5,300m, 28°10’24”N, 86°11’28”E), near the head of the valley and close to a high glacial lake. Here we hit the first real snow and saw our peak, which was characterized by rock towers along a convoluted ridge. Prior to summit day, the Sherpas fixed 450m of rope on the route, using pitons in the unstable rock.

On the 18th we left for the summit. Although the height gain was only around 440m, the ascent, on the scree and loose rock of the west face, was tough. At one point we reached a gendarme that we could neither go around nor over, so we found a route directly through it, making moves more akin to caving, and removing our day sacks to enable us to squeeze through.

This gave access to the south ridge, the frontier with Tibet. We followed this, around another gendarme, to the top, where we had a stunning view that included five 8,000m peaks. Our satellite tracker recorded 5,645m, but we had different heights from our various GPS devices, so decided to go for the mean, which more or less agreed with the government-stated height of 5,738m. This summit is at 28°9'58.39"N, 86°11'32.46"E. The coordinates given by the Ministry are wrong: They lie to the north and east, and entirely in Tibet. About 1km to the north of our summit, at the northeast head of the valley, is another peak of similar, or perhaps slightly higher, altitude. We refer to this unclimbed summit as Korlang Pari Tippa North.

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

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