Ines Papert Makes First Ascent of Nepali Peak
11/29/13 - With her partner, Thomas Senf, waiting in high camp because of frostbite, Ines Papert soloed to the summit of 22,044-foot Likhu Chuli I in Nepal, completing the likely first ascent of the peak.
Papert, the well-known German ice climber and multi-time winner of the Ouray Ice Festival, had spent three days climbing the peak with her Swiss partner. The two had planned to climb a new route on the north face of Tengkangpoche in the Thame valley of the Khumbu region. However, that face was out of condition, so after an acclimatization climb on a nearby peak, the two started up the north face of Likhu Chuli I on November 11.
The pair climbed the mile-high face quickly, but a huge cornice forced them into an open bivouac just below the ridge top. In the morning the two were able to pass the cornice and continue to a small top below the main peak. They spent a night in their tent and then, realizing that the east ridge, which they'd hoped to follow to the summit, was buried in deep snow, they traversed across the north face to reach the north ridge. Here they pitched the tent again to get out of the cold wind, and Senf, who was developing frostbite, decided to stay in the tent while Papert went for the summit.
Papert reached the top a couple of hours later, around 2 p.m., and descended to rejoin Senf. After a third night on the mountain, they descended the north ridge and then glacial slopes to return to their advanced base camp at the foot of the mountain.
Likhu Chuli I, also known as Pig Pherago Shar (Bigphrea Go Shar) lies about 1.5 miles south of Parchamo (ca. 20,300 feet), a well-known trekking peak that Papert and Senf had climbed for acclimatization before attempting their main objective.