Dispatches

Our expedition has concluded, with all of our climbers making a first ascent to the summit of the previously unclimbed Nupla Khang, a 6,861 meter / 22,641 ft. virgin peak deep in the Himalayas on the border of Nepal and Tibet, near Mount Everest.

Alpine Start

We awoke in Advanced Base Camp (5,848 meters / 19,300 ft) on summit day at 1 AM on November 2nd.  Our climb began around 2 AM on the Nupla glacier to access the base of the route. Once on route we made our way up steep snow and ice, climbing terrain very similar but steeper to the Lhotse face on Mount Everest. The climbing was very arduous and because of the steep slope angle on hard snow/ice.  There was no room for error, nor any good opportunity to rest.  We witnessed a beautiful sunrise.  Mount Everest first became visible over the skyline and then the surrounding peaks lit up with morning alpenglow.

The team reached the summit ridge around 10 AM and then began fixing rope.  The precarious ridge was very firm, steep and had exposed snow with a large snow cornice overhanging. We had to be very careful to stay off the snow cornice as we made our way along the winding ridge to the highest point, where the borders of Nepal & Tibet (China) meet.

First Ascent

The first of us arrived at the top around 11:30 AM.  Luckily there was actually a small place to stand at the intersection of the 3 ridgelines.  We were happy to stand on flat ground for the first time since beginning the climb before dawn. Once at the top, we briefly celebrated the moment and the view, then began our descent; first along the ridge and then via many rappels down to the base of the route.  We were very lucky to have good weather on our summit day, with calm winds and clear skies.

What’s next?

Our team is now finished with the ‘unclimbed peak’ expedition. Some of our climbers have just arrived by helicopter in Kathmandu and are preparing to head home, while some other climbers from our team are staying in Nepal to attempt Ama Dablam, an iconic 6,812 meter / 22,349 ft. peak near Mount Everest. Ama Dablam is situated along the trekking route to Mount Everest & Everest base camp.

Currently, Sid, Josh, & Ingvild are making their way from our ‘unclimbed peak’ base camp to Ama Dablam base camp, while the rest of us have elected to helicopter from base camp back to Kathmandu, a quick and exhilarating way to exit the high Himalaya. It’s been a great expedition.  I’m very thankful for our team of climbing Sherpas who helped make this ‘first ascent’ possible. It’s been a pleasure to climb with these guys this year on Mount Everest, K2, and now on Nupla Khang, and I look forward to climbing with them again on Mount Everest next spring!

Morning view of Tharke Khang, which we were the first climbers to ascend in 2017

Morning view of Tharke Khang, which we were the first climbers to ascend in 2017

Front pointing on the Nup la Khang summit ridge

Front pointing on the Nup la Khang summit ridge

Norwegian climber Ingvild Settemsdel at the Nup la Khang summit

Norwegian climber Ingvild Settemsdel at the Nup la Khang summit

A few of our climbers at the summit of Nup la Khang yesterday (11/3/18)

A few of our climbers at the summit of Nup la Khang yesterday (11/3/18)

Flying out of the high Himalayas at over 19,000 ft. and back to Kathmandu with expert Norwegian pilot Ingmar!

Flying out of the high Himalayas at over 19,000 ft. and back to Kathmandu with expert Norwegian pilot Ingmar!

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