Peak 6,065m, Northeast Couloir and Northwest Ridge to Just Below Summit
Nepal, Mahalangur Himal, Khumbu Section
NOT LONG after passing through the village of Lobuche, and at an altitude of 4,900m, a left turn brings you into the valley of the Khangri Nup Glacier. This is rarely traveled and there is good potential for climbing peaks and virgin walls. However, the approach is long and hard, with a lot of moraine. In early May, Ana Gracia, Ruben Gomez, and I managed it without the help of Sherpas, porters, or cooks, establishing base camp at around 5,300m.
We made two carries. On the first day we reached the site of base camp, dumped our loads, and returned to Lobuche in a 10-hour round trip. Two days later, we left Lobuche at 8 a.m., arrived at base camp at 1 p.m., rested until midnight, and then left camp carrying minimal equipment and two liters of water per person.
Our goal was the unnamed Peak 6,065m (27°58'23.73"N, 86°46'22.02"E), between Nirekha (6,159m) and the 6,010m northwest summit of Lobuche (6,135m). With only 100m of altitude gain we reached the start of the northeast couloir, where we found soft snow, even during the night. There was a short section of M4 through rotten rock, which was difficult to protect. After more snow we reached a section of 80° ice covered by a thin snow layer. Once past this difficult section we reached the col on the northwest ridge at around 5,900m. We found an old snow stake at this col; there was no other evidence on our route of what this party might have been attempting to climb.
From here to the top was a mixture of good and bad granite; it was so warm it was possible to climb without gloves. There was a step or two of 6a, and the final section was quite exposed until we reached a point 10m below the top, where we were stopped by a completely smooth gendarme of black rock forming the summit. Our altimeter read 6,090m. We turned back from this point, unsure how we would have climbed to, or got down from, the true summit. It was 9 a.m. on May 10. We reversed our route of ascent and regained base camp at 3 p.m.
The north face of Lobuche West was our original plan—and a face I have tried previously—but it looked very dry. It is worth noting that during the last three years all the peaks of around 6,000m that I’ve seen in this region have appeared very dry. The Khumbu is also becoming increasingly expensive.
– Angel Salamanca, Spain