Big New Routes in the Khumbu


The Phantom of the Opera ( WI5 M6+ 6b A1/A2) on the Northeast Face of Kajo Ri (6189m). Photo courtesy of Enrico Bonino / enricobonino.blogspot.com

Italians Enrico Bonino and Nicolas Meli made three first ascents in the Khumbu region of Nepal in November and December 2009. 

To start things off, at the end of November Bonino and Meli, along with doctor with Francesco Cantu, climbed a new 1100-meter route on Hama Yomjuma Peak (5970m) that they called Ramri Keti (WI5+ M7 5a). The route climbs the middle of three snow couloirs to steep rock bands through snow fields before reaching a “massive rock barrier” where the route ends. 

Next, in early December the pair climbed a 600-meter route near Dawa Peak on Peak Khancha (5850m), which they named for their super human porter, named Khancha, whom they credit for success on all of their climbs. The new route M’han dato 5 al modulo di misto … (WI6 M7X A2) climbs corners and couloirs through steep rock, snow and ice. 

Bonino takles one of the rock pitches low on The Phantom of the Opera. Photo by Nicolas Meli courtesy of Enrico Bonino / enricobonino.blogspot.com

To finish it off the trilogy, and after repairing their worn out ice axes that they hastily fixed with duct tape and wire, the pair made the first ascent of Northeast Face of Kajo Ri (6189m) also in the Khumbu region in the middle of December. After establishing a basecamp near the Machermo village Bonino and Meli spent three days climbing The Phantom of the Opera with free climbing up to 6b, mixed sections up to M6+, that were similar to “a the giant route on the Droites”, and with one pitch of A1/A2 high on the route. 

For more information, topos and photos of each climb visit: enricobonino.blogspot.com 

Date of Ascents: November 18–December 12, 2009

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