Brits Climb Hard Ice Line in Nepal

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Spot the line! Snotty’s Gully takes on the most obvious ice gully on the North Face of Machermo (aka Phari Lapcha), near Gokyo, Nepal.

Got two weeks and want to put up a new route in Nepal? Try keeping up with Britons Jon Bracey and Nick Bullock, who pulled off a 3,000-foot-plus ice route to an unclimbed summit just nine days after landing at Lukla airport.

During their four-day trek to Gokyo, the two Brits spotted an unclimbed ice line “promising similar climbing to the Super Couloir on Mont Blanc de Tacul in France,” in the back of a deep cleft on the North Face of Machermo (aka Phari Lapcha, ca. 19,700 feet). After the barest minimum of acclimatization, they started up the route on October 14 and climbed half the route that day, successfully negotiating an overhanging rock band via a corner with thin mixed ground. After a bivouac, they continued up very sustained ice and mixed climbing to the summit ridge, followed by one more pitch to the “coffee-table-sized” top.

In all, they climbed 16 pitches, plus a bit of simul-climbing; they rappelled the route in just four and a half hours, returning to Gokyo in time for dinner. Bracey and Bullock called the route Snotty’s Gully (ED+ WI5 M5+) after the late Sue Nott.

Read the entertaining full route description here:

Sources: Jon Bracey;; report from Nick Bullock at

Date of Ascent: October 13-14, 2006

Comment on this story

Join the Conversation