Peak 41, Northeast Face

Nepal, Malahangur Himal – Khumbu Section
Author: Rodolphe Popier and Kim Dong-soo. Climb Year: 2016. Publication Year: 2020.

Previously unreported was the first ascent of the northeast face of Peak 41 (6,648m) by a Korean team in 2016. The ascent remained under the radar, even in Korea, likely because of the use of a helicopter for descent.

The climbers arrived at their 4,800m base camp on October 10. Two of the team’s four climbing members—climbing leader Koo Eun-soo and Choi Ji-won—had attempted the left side of the face in 2014 (see AAJ 2016). They had found much snow high up, and feeling this line might be too difficult to climb, they opted in 2016 for another route toward the far right side of the face. The climbing on this appears to be steep, sustained, and technical.

On October 17 the team reached an advanced base at 5,027m, and then bivouacked two nights on the face at 5,400m, two nights at 5,577m, then again at 5,909m. At some stage Choi gave up due to altitude sickness, leaving Koo, Han Dong-ik, and Yoo Hak-jae to continue. At 6,244m they were forced to spend three nights before continuing over the north summit and down to a bivouac in a snow cave on the ridge at 6,405m, their first comfortable, warm site.

Next day, October 27, with all their fuel now gone, Han decided to stay put while Koo and Yoo continued along the sharp summit ridge to the main top. At times the snow was almost one meter deep. The two reached the summit that morning and returned to the cave, only to be told that their non-climbing expedition leader, fearing the risk of avalanches during the descent, and with an approaching return date to Korea, had initiated a helicopter rescue. The same day the three climbers were lifted from site of the snow cave.

The almost 1,700m line has been named the Korean Route and had rock difficulties of 5.9 A1.

– Lindsay Griffin, from information supplied by Rodolphe Popier, Chronique Alpine, French Alpine Club, and Kim Dong-soo, Korea

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