UKC, Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman have succeeded on the previously unclimbed North face of Chang Himal.
The 1800m North face of Chang Himal (aka Wedge Peak), was a well known target for super-alpinists after being featured in Alpinist magazine's 'Unclimbed' article back in 2003. A Slovenian team consisting of Ales Koželj and Mitja Sorn attempted the face back in 2007 but retreated from around half-way after encountering very soft and unstable snow.
After four days of climbing the British pair reached the summit of the 6812 metre peak. They abseiled the face on their fifth day.
"We spent 5 days on the face, covering well over 2000m of ground, the second been the slowest and crux with run out climbing up to Scottish 7/M6 on steep rotten ice/snow over loose rock. Gear and belays seemed to take an age to uncover, finding something if you were lucky. Any un-comfy second night on a 30cm snow ledge was eased slightly hoping the crux section was, hopefully, below us. After a few hours simu-climbing the third day ended with 3 pitches bringing us up into the steep Peruvian style snow flutings below the summit."
The pair summited on their fourth day, Nick Bullock detailed their summit experience:
"A steep flounder directly out of the top of our bivvy (made easier without the weight of rucksacks which we had left at the bivvy) brightened our slightly cold and breezy day, when, with a bit of Peruvian/Nepal unprotected jiggery pokey, we entered the guts of a continuation runnel, which we hoped and prayed led to the summit crest (70°, 180m).
And it did ... a final 100 metres of wind scoured 50° led to the knife edge summit at midday, directly above everything we had climbed."
"A tour de-force (from Youth) in constructing abseil anchors from very little indeed, had us down in a 'one-er' without too much drama. Setting off on one of the abseils, directly down the very steep rock band did have the old man puffing slightly, but 13 hours later we hit and down climbed the initial snow gully, cone and ice runnel to nestle back into our cave feeling very happy with our lot 15 hours from leaving the high bivvy."
Andy Houseman summed up his experience:
"Over a year of looking at photos, nearly two weeks staring, watching from base camp – will it? won't it? To finally be sat, along with Nick, one leg either side of the knife edge summit, wow! I can't begin to describe."
- You can read Nick's full account on the DMM Website
- Andy's full account on the Mountain Equipment blog
The trip was supported by the Lyon Equipment Award, The BMC, MEF, Nick Estcourt Award, Mark Clifford Award, Shipton/Tilman Award.