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[TR] shishapangma 8025m tibet - sw face british poute. 4/13/2007

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Trip: shishapangma 8025m tibet - sw face british route.


Date: 4/13/2007


Trip Report:

the dream; climb ice and rock at 25000ft.

in april '03, 4 friends and i went to climb shishapangma in tibet.i pushed hard to convince the others to go the sw face route. my friends usually do 'normales'. my son climbs rock (5.11) and ice (wi5) and one other guy also but the other 2 are a little vertically challenged.the four had climbed cho oyo (8200m) 3 years before.

so we left from ny on april 13th. it was during the sars scare, so we traveled with masks the whole way. we spent 3 days in kathmandu and then boarded a mini bus for 5-6 hours trip to tibet border.there you have to walk across a bridge and get into zangmu tibet for the nite. next day you board a different bus with chinese liaison officer.after that we travelled 4-5 hours to nyalam. there we stayed 3 days to acclimatise. its already 14k ft.first day, one of my buds goes up to 15k and horses around and when he came back he had ams? and wanted oxygen!we brought a couple bottles for emergencies. so , first day i went for a walk,second day i went treking in the hills to 16k and slept there.3rd day i went for a jog.the 4th day our train of 25 yaks was loaded and we started the 2 day trek to base camp. we were a 5man team with a cook and helper for base camp.1 ton of crap! base camp was at 18kft about 30miles away.getting there was one of the most awesome environnement i 've ever been in. you're really high and you're surrounded by giants.we didnt see a soul in there.pristine.huge highflying hawks and big cat paws in the snow.the yak bells, the whisling tibetans......

we set up basecamp on snow, at 18k, still about 6-8 hrs from the base of the climb.camp is ,a high cook tent,a similar diner tent and 4, 2 man tents.from there we had to acclimatise to at least 20-22k, before we could tackle the climb. we did trips up the adjacent peaks,higher and higher . there was a really nice ice fall (100m wi4-5) across the valley that i saw when we first got there and it was calling me.i woke up one nite at 3 am and left to do it . i poked around but nobody was up.i had to cross a river about 100ft wide by planning a series of jumps from rock to rock .took 45 minutes. one soaker later i was over and jogged to the base . the ice was perfect, there some moonlight so i barely used my headlamp.i just carefully went up mostly 4's for about 2hrs. all magic. near the top i had to find the traverse i had spotted to get back down. i was searching until i saw midsized snow lion tracks in the snow. i figured he knew the land and followed him al the way down,around drops and couloirs. easiest route.

the next day the wind picked up. yeah, it picked up the cooktent and dropped it on the other side of the valley, table chairs and all. i was hunkered in my bibler with my feet up on the sides to keep it from collapsing.that storm lasted 5 days and thrashed 60 tents on the other side of the mountain.we had to flatten our tents or lose them. we moved the camp after retrieving the cooktent twice. we were the only team on the sw side so we had a hard time getting organized because we had no beta, to find abc and very general route beta ; only by reading scotts book. everyday when we went to abc, we passed by the spot where alex lowe died the year before.eerie spot for sure, right at the bottom of the face. 3 weeks later we were ready to climb. we wanted to go alpine style, straight up and rap/ downclimb the same route.its 6500ft of 50-70deg ice with a rock step(5.9,wi5) at 22k .we dropped off a bit of gear and food on a couple forays to 20k.

when we were ready, one guy got sick and one guy was 3x times too slow, so my son went with him. they got on the climb the next day later but they turned around and left after a day. they refused to go pass the spot where my bud got beaned by rock during a accl/drop foray to 20k.damn couloirs!! so it left me with my bud udar.(pics) his last climb was cho oyo 3 years before! .he dont climb much but he's strong and ex downhiller.we needed to get up to high camp at 23.5k ,in 2 days and then summit from there.it was snowing lightly when we left and had spindrift avi's the first day. we hacked camp 1 out of a ledge . next day we were right where we had rock fall and my bud decided to take a day off. never one to push anyone to their death ,i had to sit tight. i knew this could cost us the summit because of fuel/food/weather. i just resigned myself and decided to enjoy the fantastic climbing. next day i lead out and we simulclimbed for 8 hrs to camp 2.ice was great. hacked another spot at 22k. woke up to fantastic skies, clear, calm. like a day at the beach.we were at the crux.! a rock step that's been messing with us for 2 months .it was iced over and i lead 1 pitch wi4 and a series of 4m steps in 1 hour! big effin' deal. stories.....we were now in a second, wider, couloir with tidbits flying by.we hugged the side and climbed another 5 hours. my bud was hurtin' and asked to stop for the night. i could'nt find any flat spot in the rocks so we kept going up until we found an ice cave.i went in ,roped and almost went thru the floor. we packed ice blocks and snow in the crack and set up the bibler .we brewed,ate and brewed some more.it was actually really windy in there and really cold.tent was toasty. next mornig was super clear again but windier.-30f

we figured we were at 23-23.5k, so we had to make a summit push from there,leave the tent and everything. we knew the climb was a little less steep and hard packed.however, because of 2!extra days getting up we were low on food. gas was ok .so we figured about 15-20hrs round trip to 26k with 3 bars,some tea and soup.rich!.we were the only 2 guys on that side of mountain,our 'friends' having retreated all the way to basecamp. i lead out the cave and it was about -30. in the cave! the wind was strong but we moved well up 70deg ice slope for about 2 hours until the wind picked up and started slapping us against the hill.nowhere to hide. i belayed him up and first thing he said was lets bail. we tried another 1/2 hr,so we could get over a rock step and be sheltered from the wind but progress was slow.next meeting was over in hurry. we downclimed back to our cave/tent, rehydrated and warmed up.i was disappointed but so elated at being there. we still had 10hrs of raps to go. we got down really well, using slings,v's,cheap screws. all and all a great learning experience.shivalinga_kathmandu.jpg

















Gear Notes:

10-12 ice screws/ 6 pitons, 60m rope,bibler,propane/snopeak stove,10 lbs of down each!




Approach Notes:

15hrs flight,15hrs drive,15hrs walk in ( trip cost 7k (.outfitter cost 5k, per)

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