Chinese Peak Gets First Ascent

By Dougald MacDonald ,

British alpinists Julie-Ann Clyma and Roger Payne bagged the first ascent of 20,919-foot Mt. Grosvenor in Sichuan Province of central China. In early November, the two climbed the peak by its north face and west ridge and traversed the summit to descend by the east ridge, taking five days round-trip from advanced basecamp. Skirting the biggest sweep of the enormous north face, they still found 15 pitches of thin ice and mixed climbing, mostly Scottish IV and V with some Grade VI dry tooling, before reaching the west ridge. Following a windy bivouac on the narrow crest, they climbed extremely loose rock for about 500 feet, with rockfall seriously damaging both of their ropes, to a second camp. On the third day, relatively straightforward climbing led to the summit. It took two more camps to descend the east ridge to a saddle, from which rappels led back to the base of the north wall. Payne and Clyma said the Daxue Shan Range, near the famed 24,790-foot Minya Konka, offers excellent climbing opportunities, with fairly easy access, five more virgin 6,000-meter peaks, and numerous good routes to attempt.

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