Chobutse, Northwest Face

Nepal, Rolwaling Himal
Author: Luka Stražar . Climb Year: 2021. Publication Year: 2022.

From October 28–30, Nejc Marčič and I succeeded on the first ascent of the 1,700m northwest face of Chobutse (6,685m). The peak was first climbed in 1972 via the east ridge/face, approached from the north, by Germans Gustav and Klaus Harder, Peter Vogler, and Wolfgang Weinzierl. On the west side of the mountain, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa made an impressive solo ascent in 2015. [For a brief history of climbing on Chobutse, see AAJ 2016.]

We left Slovenia together with Marko Prezelj and Matija Volontar at the beginning of Octo- ber and made our base camp in the village of Na on the 12th. After thorough acclimatization, during which we climbed Omi Tso Go (6,230m), where we slept two nights at 5,700m, we were ready for the northwest face of Chobutse.

Leaving Na at 1 a.m., we started up the face at 5 a.m. The initial slopes proved to be in good condition, enabling us to advance quickly. Then we encountered steep climbing, and at one point had to rappel a pitch due to poor conditions and find an alternative route on thin ice. In the central section we found steep, exposed climbing.

At the end of the first day, we were really lucky to find a good bivouac site at around 5,800m in very steep terrain, where there had been no decent ledges below. Our second bivouac was in a crevasse around 500m below the summit. The climbing on both the second and third day was accompanied by low temperatures and strong winds, creating frequent spindrift.

We arrived on top around 2 p.m. There is very little height difference between the central and east summits, which are about half an hour apart, and to be sure we climbed them both; we estimate the central summit is a few meters higher. We descended the west face of the mountain in the area of Mingma’s route and were back in Na by 8 p.m. the evening of the 30th. The Slovenian Direct had difficulties of ED M5 AI5.

In the meantime, Marko and Matija had attempted the New Zealand route on the southwest ridge but turned around at 6,100m due to high winds. On the 31st we began our return to Kathmandu.

— Luka Stražar, Slovenia

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