Nangamari I (center) and II (left). The 2016 first ascent of Nangamari II
gained the col between the two peaks, then followed the northeast ridge.
In 2013 the Kanzai section of the Japanese Alpine Club had discussions with Tamotsu Ohnishi about an expedition to celebrate their 80th anniversary in 2016. The resulting plan was that Ohnishi would lead an expedition to attempt Nangamari I (6,547m) in East Nepal. However, in 2014 Ohnishi passed away. We also learned that Nangamari I had been climbed by an Australian expedition (AAJ 2011). Instead, we decided to make the first ascent of Nangamari II (6,209m) and then traverse the connecting ridge northeast to Nangamari I.
We used porters from Taplejung to Ghunsa, and then yaks from there to base camp, which we established on September 29, 2016, two kilometers below the Nangamari Pokhari lake at 4,800m. We set up Camp 1 to the north, at 5,209m, and started to ferry equipment to a proposed Camp 2 at 5,600m. In the process of carrying loads and reconnaissance, Kensuke Iwai came down with a high fever, and Shiro Matsunaka had altitude sickness. Both descended to Yangma (ca 4,170m) but did not recover. On the advice of our doctor, they were helicoptered to Kathmandu.
An elder at Yangma said that, according to the Tibetan calendar, the weather would be bad until October 16. However, the forecast from Lhasa, received over the Internet, predicted fine weather after the 13th. This proved to be correct, and on the 13th we ferried more loads, on the 14th we rested, and on the 15th all the team, including Iwai and Matsunaka, who had returned fit and well from Kathmandu the day before, spent the night in Camp 2. Next day we made a summit attempt, but high temperatures made conditions dangerous and we retreated from 5,880m. We decided to abandon the idea of the traverse and concentrate our remaining energy on reaching the summit of Nangamari II
At 2 a.m. on October 17 we left high camp again. We reached our high point and continued to the col between Nangamari I and II, and then turned southwest. Two of our youngest climbers went ahead, fixing ropes. The slopes were straightforward until we reached the col between the north top and the main summit. The way ahead was along a knife-edge snow arête, which we crossed with care. At 12:37 p.m., all nine members stood on the summit (Kensuke Iwai, Kiyo Kuroda, Shiro Matsunaka, Yusuke Morimoto, Kanji Motegi, Myoko Nagase, Masayuki Takenaka, Saori Tatsuno, and me). Our team was both male and female, with an age range of 26 to 69. We returned to the col between the two Nangamaris at a little after 4 p.m. and on the following day reached base camp. During our journey out to Ghunsa we made a large cairn, under which we buried some of the remains of Ohnishi.
– Tsuneo Shigehiro, JAC, supplied and translated by Tom Nakamura, Honorary Member of the AAC