New Route on Annapurna III

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According to a short letter posted on www.planetfear.com, British climbers Ian Parnell and Kenton Cool, along with American John Varco, made the first ascent of the much-tried Southwest Ridge of Annapurna III (7,555 meters) in Nepal. The route most recently was attempted by a large Slovenian team that used extensive fixed rope in 2000. The Anglo-American team “tried to stick to alpine style as much as possible but ended up using the [Slovenians’] fixed ropes on the initial 600-meter rock buttress for descending and the occasional jumar.” The trio free climbed the entire 2,500-meter route, despite “atrocious” rock, and found some vertical ice “feeling like WI8 even thought it was probably only WI3/4,” Parnell reported.