Sunday, April 15, 2012

2012 Shishapangma Expedition - Mountain History

 Shishapangma was first reconnoitered by a Chinese - Tibetan team in 1963, who reached 7200 meters on the north ridge before descending in poor weather.  It was the following year, on May 2nd, 1964 that it had its first successful summit, also by a Chinese team.

The North - Northeast Face of Shishapangma (image: Luke Smithwick)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

2012 Changtang Winter Peak Exploration

Stephanie Schnieder flew in to Ladakh in February with a singular objective to climb to 6000 meters, in winter.  Day one, we quickly began acclimatizing; exploring old town Leh, and visiting with locals.  We developed our objective based on weather for the week, and current road conditions.  Planning ahead for winter 6000 meter ascents in Ladakh can leave you searching for consolation prizes, as passes close overnight, and where you can get in, you may not be able to get out.  After meeting with our local expert jeep  man, Angchuk, we hatched our plan.  We would head in to Tso Kar lake, over 5250 meter Polokongka La, and go for a quick ascent of 6053 meter Tukje Ri.  We knew that the pass could close any day due to wind drifting snow, and made sure the skies kept clear and nothing harbingered a change on the horizon.

A herd of more than 100 Kiang graze on the plains of Tso Kar.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2012 Peaks of Annapurna Exploratory

summit day on Syagang Ri

The goal on this particular trip was simple; acclimatize, and see how much climbing we could get done.  In the end, we found unstable and late seasonal snow in the Annapurnas, which turned us back from a nice summit on a rarely climbed peak in the northern portion of the range.  Setting out from Kathmandu, we had a Chullu West permit in hand; but when snow for 6 out of 9 days on the Chullu's became a reality while on approach; we opted to look in another less visited portion of north central Nepal.  We climbed some new ice, got to 6000 meters on a nice peak, and experienced the warm hospitality of the Thakali, Gurung, and Manangi people of the region.