Americans Bag New Route in Nepal - Climbing Magazine

Americans Bag New Route in Nepal

Alan Rousseau heading up the mile-high west face of Tengi Ragi Tau in Nepal. Photo by Tino Villanueva.

Alan Rousseau heading up the mile-high west face of Tengi Ragi Tau in Nepal. Photo by Tino Villanueva.

11/29/14 - Mountain guides Alan Rousseau and Tino Villanueva climbed a new route on a 20,000-foot peak in Nepal and made a solid attempt on a higher peak. The two Americans were climbing in the Rolwaling Himal, an area they first visited in 2012, west of the popular Khumbu region.

After a seven-day trek and some reconnaissance while acclimatizing, the two made the likely first ascent of the west face of Pachermo (6,275m/20,587') on Halloween. The 4,000-foot route “began with firm névé, water-ice runnels, and solid granite,” Rousseau said in an email. “However, as often is the case in the Greater Ranges, the real difficulties began high on the route where, at times, neck-deep trail-breaking through deeply faceted snow was occurring on 60° terrain.” The two topped out in the dark after 12 hours of climbing and descended the standard north ridge of the peak in high winds and frigid temperatures, returning to base camp around midnight.

After a long rest they attempted their second objective: the unclimbed west face of Tengi Ragi Tau (6,938m/22,762'). The peak has only been climbed once, in 2002. In high winds and spindrift, Rousseau and Villanueva made their way up thin ice to a bivy at 6,200 meters (20,341'). “All night we heard objects whizzing past us, with fortunately only small objects bouncing off our ultra-thin tent,” Rousseau said. Day two went mostly smoothly as they angled left across the mile-high face toward a hoped-for exit. “We reached our second planned bivy with a couple of hours of light left, but the spot was more exposed [to falling debris] than we were comfortable with, and we hesitantly began our descent off the wall,” Rousseau said. “Somewhere around 25 rappels over eight hours brought us down to the base of the wall.”

Rousseau, based in Salt Lake City, and Villanueva, who climbs mostly in the Cascades and Alaska, were supported by a Lyman Spitzer Award from the American Alpine Club.

Dates of ascents: October-November 2014

Source: Alan Rousseau