American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Chugimago North, Northwest Face; Omi Tso Go, Northeast Ridge; Khang Kharpo, South-Southeast Ridge

Nepal, Rolwaling Himal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Luka Plut
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

On October 23, Miha Zupin and I left Slovenia for the Rolwaling, and on the 28th reached the village of Na (4,150m), our base camp for the next three weeks. At the start of our stay there was afternoon snow, but other than that we had beautiful cold, clear weather the whole time.

On the 30th we walked to Tsho Rolpa Lake (4,580m), and the following day up to 5,200m at the base of the northwest face of Chugimago North (5,945m). On November 1 we climbed a similar line to the 2016 Mirhashemi-Pugliese route [probably more to the right in the lower two-thirds], reached the lower northeast top (measured at 5,890m GPS), and descended northeast to the Tsho Rolpa. We don't recommend this descent, as it is very loose.Our 600m route had sections of snow and ice up to 80°.

On November 7 we climbed the northeast ridge of Omi Tso Go (6,332m), northeast of Kang Nachugo and on the border with Tibet. Although it is likely that Omi Tso Go had received one or more unauthorized ascents in the past, it was only brought onto the official permitted list in 2014. Americans Scott Adamson and Angela VanWiemeersch were in the Rolwaling in November-December 2014, aiming to try Omi Tso Go's northeast ridge, the most logical line of ascent. However, VanWiemeersch suffered from the altitude at base camp, so Adamson made a solo attempt on the ridge. He reached 6,000m before deciding that the ground ahead probably wasn't a good idea for a solo climber and retreated. In spring 2016, a small British team tried to access the northeast ridge from the east but had to abandon the climb at 5,600m due to heavy snowfall. In the autumn of the same year, an American-Nepalese duo had permits for both Omi Tso Go and Langdung, but in the end only attempted Langdung.

On November 6, Miha and I put a high camp at 5,600m and the following day climbed the ridge (maximum angle 75°), measuring an altitude of 6,337m. Thinking it to be a first ascent, we were surprised to find fresh footprints in the middle of the ridge. These disappeared 50m below the summit, but could easily have been blown away by the wind. [Climbers on nearby Bamongo witnessed an unidentified solo climber descending from that peak one day earlier.] We descended to our tent the same day.

The last mountain we climbed was Khang Kharpo (a.k.a. Ripimo Shar, 6,646m) at the head of the Rolwaling (Ripimo Shar) Glacier. On the 12th we left Na, ascended the glacier, and camped at 5,200m. Next day we reached the col (ca 6,000m) between Khang Kharpo and Dragnag Ri. The following day we made the first ascent of the south-southeast ridge of Khang Kharpo (6,641m GPS) and descended to the tent. From the summit we were rewarded with tremendous views of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. We named our route Kranjski Greben (1,300m, UIAA IV 75°). This was the fifth known ascent of the mountain.

At the end of the expedition we were lucky to be invited to a traditional Sherpa wedding, where we consumed chang and dal bhat in great quantities. It was a perfect end to our first trip in Nepal.

– Luka Plut, Slovenia

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