10/17/12 - American climber Dave Anderson and Taiwanese Szu-ting Yi did the first ascent of 19,259-foot Kemailong in western Sichuan Province of China. On October 1, the two climbed the south ridge and descended by the east face to return to their 17,000-foot high camp, which they reached after 18 hours on the go. They called the route Joining Hands (V 5.10 M5).
Kemailong is several valleys to the northeast of Mt. Genyen (20,354 feet), the highest peak in the Shaluli Shan mountains. This was Anderson’s third expedition to the Shaluli Shan in the last six years. In October 2006, he and Canadian Sarah Heuniken completed the first ascent of Sachun (18,753 feet), and last September he returned with Yi and American Eric Salazar and climbed the west ridge of previously unclimbed Crown Mountain (18,373 feet).
In an email, Anderson said, "The expedition almost ground to halt in the town of Lamaya when the horse packers discovered [our] climbing equipment…. In 2006, Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff disappeared in the Shaluli Shan. Before the bodies of Fowler and Boskoff were discovered in avalanche debris on the slopes of Genyen, the Chinese authorities had imprisoned several of the Lamaya horse packers merely on the suspicion that they had something to with the Americans' disappearance. As a result, six years later, the horse packers were still fearful of helping climbers. To resolve the issue, [we] wrote, signed and fingerprinted a 'waiver' releasing the horse packers from any responsibility if [we] failed to return from Kemailong."
The two climbers received support from Planet Granite, the AAC Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award, Atunas, Patagonia, Evolve and NOLS for making the expedition possible.
Date of ascent: October 1, 2012
Source: Dave Anderson