North Face of Tawoche


Japanese climbers Fumitaka Ichimura and Genki Narumi completed the first ascent of the north face of Tawoche (1,500m, VI AI5R) in Nepal’s Khumbu region in late November. The two men climbed the face alpine-style over two and a half days, then traversed over the summit ridge and descended to the south and east, with one more bivouac during their descent. Though they were very close to Tawoche’s summit, a large gap in the ridge blocked their way to the true peak.

After one attempt in mid-November that ended at 5,700 meters, they started up the face again on November 26. The climbers endured two sitting bivouacs on the face, the first (at ca. 5,600 meters) plagued by continuous spindrift. During their second day of climbing, mostly on steep ice, they couldn’t find a place to stop until 9 p.m., long after dark, at around 6,100 meters. After cresting the summit ridge on the third day, they descended to the south and finally found a level place where they could take off their harnesses and relax. The next day they rappelled the east gully and walked down to Pheriche.

Tawoche (aka Taboche) is a striking peak just west of the popular trekking route to Everest Base Camp; it is given various altitudes from 6,367 meters to 6,501 meters (20,889' to 21,329'). The extremely steep northeast face was first climbed by Jeff Lowe and John Roskelley in 1989. Six years later, Mick Fowler and Pat Littlejohn climbed the northeast pillar, between the northeast and north faces.

Sources: Hiroshi Hagiwara,