Two Himalayan First Ascents

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A French expedition has made the first ascent of two 7,000-meter peaks in the Himalaya: the north and central summits of Chomo-Lonzo. On May 8, the rope team of Christian Trommsdorf, Yannick Graziani and Patrick Wagon summited the 23,619-foot north peak of Chomo-Lonzo via its Northwest Ridge, passing very difficult rock steps at nearly 23,000 feet. Five days later, the same team headed back up this route, intending to traverse to the 24,738-foot central summit of Chomo-Lonzo, but they discovered that a storm had completely destroyed the high camp they had left for the traverse.Meanwhile, on May 16, Stéphane Benoist and Patrick Glairon-Rappaz climbed a direct route on the West Face of Chomo-Lonzo North, reaching the summit in three days alpine-style. That same day, the Trommsdorf-Graziani-Wagon rope headed back up the Northwest Ridge, aiming for the traverse to the central peak. High winds and harder climbing than expected slowed their progress, but on May 21 they reached the virgin central summit from the saddle between the two peaks. They returned to their bivouac at 4 a.m. and safely descended the Northwest Ridge the next day.This strong expedition originally had targeted the much-eyed Northeast Face of the Chomo-Lonzo massif and a traverse to the 25,558-foot main summit, first climbed in 1954 by the French team warming up for neighboring Makalu. But very dangerous snow conditions prompted them to move to the western side of the massif.

Chomo-Lonzo's western aspect. The Northwest Ridge is on the left; the West Face route angles up and left from the 6,100-meter bivouac site.Photo courtesy of Fédération Franáise de la Montagne et de l'Escalade (www.ffme.fr).

Two Himalayan First Ascents