Reports - winter conditions and activity

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baruntse Expedition 2011 (7129m)

I've just returned from climbing Mera Peak (6476m) and Baruntse (7129m) in Nepal where I have been leading for

The 35 day expedition treks in via the Hinku Valley, a remote area in comparison to the near by Khumbu Valley.  The route chosen takes in some remote villages whilst steadily climbing towards the Mera La Pass at the head of the valley and where Mera Peak can be climbed from.

 Remote village we spent a night at on the trek to Mera.

Some local kids.

Mera Peak is a technically straight forward peak and a classic of the Himalayas.  We experienced some very cold but clear weather on Mera, the summit, once gained by a short steep ice cliff, rewards you with spectacular views of the range, peaks such as Everest, Makalu, Ama Dablam, Chamalang and Kanchenjunga are all in clear view.  Following descent we made are way towards Baruntse Base Camp, about 2 days trek.

 Mera High Camp.

 Summit views to Everest and Lhotse.

Irish patriotism on the summit!

Baruntse is a larger peak than Mera at 7129m and is a classified 'Expedition Peak'.  Having acclimatised on Mera we were able to make the most of the stable weather on arrival at Baruntse and start up the mountain after 1 rest day.  We moved to camp 1 from Base, rested, then camp 2, and then with a 2:30am start we went for the summit.  6 of us summitted on this attempt, 6 dropped down to Base and made a 2nd attempt some days later, 2 more summitting on the 2nd attempt.  Again we had clear, but very cold weather for Baruntse, it was about -15 in the Base Camp tents on average so much colder high up.  Again we were rewarded with spectacular summit views of the range with Lhotse seeming a stones throw away!

 Approach to the West Col and Camp 1.

 Arriving at Camp 2.

Baruntse Summit.

After this the trek out took us over the reasonably technical Amphu Labtsa Pass and then a few days down the Khumbu Valley, which is comparatively developed and a shock to the system giving a night in a bed after almost 30 in the tent.

 Ascent of the Amphu Labtsa Pass.

 Descent of the Amphu Labtsa Pass.

 Walking back into the Khumbu Valley.

Evening sun on the Lhotse Face.

This was another really great trip to lead and in a great part of the Himalayas.  Thanks to everyone involved for their input and well done.  Also to the out standing Sherpa team we had, an inspiration to all!

A quote I read whilst in Nepal said, 'come back alive - come back as friends - and come back having summitted - but in that order!'