The North Face of Kwangde (20,269 feet). The routes are: (purple line) Extra-Blue Ciel (ED2, Sam Beaugey, Christophe Profit, Andre Rhem, Jerome Ruby, 1995); (green line) Breashears-Lowe Route, 1982; (red line) Normal Routes Have Nothing Extraordinary (ED2 WI 5+, Stéphane Benoist, Frédéric Gottardi, 2006).Photo courtesy of Stéphane Benoist/www.nice-climb.com.
Frenchmen Stéphane Benoist and Frédéric Gottardi have added another extremely difficult ice climb to the North Face of 20,269-foot Kwangde in Nepal. The new climb, Normal Routes Have Nothing Extraordinary (ED2 WI 5+), takes a very steep line up the right side of the 3,750-foot-high face. Difficulties included many pitches of continuously steep ice and mixed climbing, up to WI 5+, in temperatures hovering around 0°F and a stiff wind. The climb required three bivouacs, plus another three days to descend the opposite side and walk around the mountain to return to Namche Bazaar.
The new route lies to the right of David Breashears and Jeff Lowe’s landmark 1982 route on the face, one of the first climbs to bring modern steep-ice techniques to the Himalaya.
Dates of Ascent: November 15-18, 2006
Steep ice on the North Face of Kwangde.Photo courtesy of Stéphane Benoist/www.nice-climb.com.
Bivouac on the North Face of Kwangde.Photo courtesy of Stéphane Benoist/www.nice-climb.com.