Holecek and Groh’s New Line on Baruntse’s…West Face

Alpine style Himalaya
Marek Holecek by the fire at Baruntse Base Camp, showing their new route up the West Face. Photo: Marek Holecek

Still in Kathmandu, Marek Holecek has shared the first photo map of the new Heavenly Trap route that he has just completed with Radoslav Groh.

After some initial confusion — he previously said that they were climbing Baruntse’s Northwest Face — he has confirmed that it was actually the West Face. It lies to the left of a line that a Russian team climbed in 1995.

Holecek and Groh approached the face from the Hunku Glacier, south of the mountain. The Czech magazine Horyinfo published the route map.

Damien Gildea remarks in a comment to a previous ExWeb story that Baruntse’s West face (or WSW Face, according to some sources) appears well-covered in snow after the monsoon, when most trekkers pass it on their way to the Amphu Lapcha Pass. “In pre-monsoon conditions (as Holecek and Groh found it), it is quite dry and relatively rocky, making it more difficult,” Gildea wrote.

Sergey Efimov, the leader of the Russian expedition, enthusiastically congratulated the Czech climbers, according to Anna Piunova of mountain.ru. “[A] beautiful line!” he wrote. “Baruntse still gives us a thrill. Good job, guys.”

The 1995 Russian Route on Baruntse’s West Pillar, to the right of Holecek and Groh’s new line. Photo: mountain.ru

The Russian expedition was, by the way, another beautiful chapter in classic mountaineering. “Why should we speak about it?” Efimov told mountain.ru regretfully. “No one climbs like that anymore.”

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Benny Smith
Benny Smith
3 months ago

Marek showing off his brand new Crocs 😀

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Don Paul
Don Paul
3 months ago

I had gone onto google maps and rotated the satellite view in every directrion, but couldn’t really match his picture. This is the west face, you can see the glacier and snow covered coulior to the left, and on the right the ridgeline splits. I am not 100% sure, but think they climbed almost directly under the red dot indicating the summit in this view:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Baruntse/@27.8369026,86.9631694,3158a,35y,23.06h,43.56t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x39e8ff4b2f269309:0xbd4917ab87524922!8m2!3d27.8719444!4d86.9819444?hl=en

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Last edited 3 months ago by Don Paul
OldHikerDude
OldHikerDude
3 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

I’m glad that we’ve finally got the route confusion sorted out. Google Earth Pro gives a much better view of this area. I think that I sorta tracked out the route in this link. I could be wrong and would be open to corrections. After all, I’m just an Old Hiker Dude……..

https://ibb.co/0mLjL5b

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Trish
Trish
3 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Thank you Don Paul and OldHikerDude for taking the time to post the links!!!

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