Peak 5,600m, Northwest Face

China, Sichuan, Daxue Shan, Tatsienlu Massif
Author: Yuikeung “Kenneth” Ho. Climb Year: 2020. Publication Year: 2021.


Looking northeast up the access valley to (A) Lamo-she, (B) Peak 5,624m, and (C) Peak ca 5,600m. Photo by Yuikeung Ho

In October, Siyuan “Azuo” Huang and I explored some new alpine routes in Sichuan. We began in the Tatsienlu Massif, which is located southeast of Kangding and culminates in Lamo-she (6,070m). Our base camp was a one-hour drive from Kangding, located at 4,080m (29°55'5.28"N, 102°0'30.74"E) on a flat sandbank with a nearby lake.

After some reconnaissance, we decided to go for an unclimbed summit on the long southwest ridge of unnamed Peak 5,624m (PLA map), south of Lamo-she. The unclimbed summit lay on the right side of the upper valley that rises east-northeast from base camp.

We established Camp 1 at 4,800m, following a track on the right side of the valley for six hours, then finally pitching our tent on the start of the scree-covered glacier.

On October 26 we hiked up to the base of the northwest face of our peak, racked up, and began climbing. The route was basically mixed climbing on granite, interspersed with a few terraces. Starting with a few M3 and M4 pitches, we made several traverses and climbed a couloir with good protection. At the time of our attempt, there was little ice on the face, just a thin layer of snow that wouldn’t hold our steps securely.

The northwest face of Peak 5,600m and the bivouac site at 5,464m. Photo by Yuikeung Ho

In the upper section we shifted to another couloir, which became slabby and demanding. The rock turned brittle and scrappy, and sometimes the protection was poor. The crux was high on the route: a few pitches of M4 to M5+ to reach a large, triangular snow platform. The pitch below the platform was vertical to overhanging in parts, followed by a chimney. The snow platform, at 5,464m, was not threatened by rockfall and had a good accumulation of snow, easily allowing us to flatten a bivouac site against the wall.

Next morning, we took only what was necessary and slanted up to the northeast ridge. The climbing became gentle, and in two hours we were on the summit (approximately 29°55'49.13"N, 102°3'7.55"E). Unfortunately, we had left our phones and altimeter watches at the bivouac site and were unable to measure the peak’s height. However, we estimate it to be around 5,600m. We returned to the bivy platform and then rappelled the route, regaining Camp 1 on the same day.

Throughout the ascent we saw no stonefall and were able to place good protection most of the time. We took a rack of cams from 0.2 to 2, with doubles in the smaller sizes, and used rock gear (no pitons) for rappel anchors. The route gained approximately 700m, and we graded it D+ M5+.

Yuikeung “Kenneth” Ho, China

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