North Face of Baruntse Climbed

By Dougald MacDonald ,

An international team has climbed the north wall of Baruntse in the Khumbu region of Nepal, an imposing face that has been eyeballed by thousands of trekkers from the summit of Island Peak. Simone Moro and Bruno “Camos” Tassi of Italy, along with Denis Urbko of Kazakhstan, completed the 1,650-meter face on May 3 and reached the north summit of Baruntse (Khali Himal, 7,041 meters) on May 4. They decided not to press on to the main summit because of high winds. The trio had hoped to climb the face alpine-style, but severe weather and the difficulty of properly acclimatizing caused them to change plans and fix ropes up nearly half the face. In a week of work, they and the amazing Russian Boris Korshunov, 68 years old (!), climbed very difficult mixed ground and placed a camp at around 6,100 meters. After eight days of stormy weather, Moro, Tassi and Urbko ascended the ropes to this camp and, after one more day of fixing in high winds, they went for the top. A very long day (3 a.m. to 7 p.m.) took them to the northern ridge, and the following day, Tassi’s birthday, they won the north summit. The team dedicated the route to Patrick Berhault, who died last week climbing in Switzerland. Urbko and Moro now head to the north wall of Annapurna.

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