11/2/10 - American Kyle Dempster and Scottish climber Bruce Normand have reportedly climbed the much-eyed direct route up the northwest face of Mt. Grosvenor (6,376m/20,919') in Sichuan, China. Mt. Grosvenor, a neighbor of 24,790-foot Gongga Shan (aka Minka Konka), had only been climbed once before, in 2003, when Roger Payne and Julie-Ann Clyma ascended the western ridge.
According to an email from French climber Christian Trommsdorff, also climbing in the Gongga Shan area, Dempster and Normand climbed the 1,300-meter (4,265') central couloir directly to the summit over a long day at the end of October. Further details are not yet available. Shortly afterward, Trommsdorff and partner Jean Annequin attempted a route to the right of the main couloir but were driven down by high winds after one bivouac. Both teams plan to attempt routes on 21,713-foot Mt. Edgar, the peak that Americans Jonny Copp and Micah Dash had hoped to climb before they were killed in an avalanche, along with filmmaker Wade Johnson, in 2009.
The main couloir line on Grosvenor had been attempted at least twice before: by Britons Andy Cave and Mick Fowler in 2003, and by Korean climbers Ahn Chi-young, Heo Young-cheol and Yun Young-Joon in 2009. Both parties attempted the climb in the spring, and both retreated from halfway or lower because of loose rock with poor protection.
Dempster and Normand have climbed together in several areas of China, including a highly successful expedition to the Xuelian massif in the Tien Shan, during which they and American Jed Brown did the first ascent of the north face of 21,070-foot Xuelian West, an ascent that earned them one of this year's Piolets d'Or.
Date of Ascent: October 2010
Source: Christian Trommsdorff, American Alpine Journal