Americans Return to Jannu

Far from the crowds currently flocking to Ama Dablam and Manaslu, two American teams are returning to one of the most impressive peaks in Nepal’s Himalaya. Mt. Jannu, also known as Kumbhakarna, rises 7,710m in the Kangchenjunga region.

The team includes Jackson Marvell,  Alan Rousseau, and Matt Cornell. The threesome has received one of the AAC’s Cutting Edge Grants this year to return to attempt the north face of Jannu (main) in alpine style. This is their third try in a row, after previous attempts in 2021 and 2022.

Only one party has succeeded on Jannu’s intimidating north face: a Russian team led by Alexander Odintsov in 2004, on a classic, Himalayan-style expedition. (A Japanese team led by Masatsugu Konishi officially first climbed the face in 1976, but their route was not a direct line. It followed the left side of the face, then picked up the east ridge.)

The climbers smile despite bad weather, dress in alpine climbing clothes.

Left to right, Jackson Marvell, Alan Rousseau, and Matt Cornell on Alaska’s Mount Dickey earlier this year. Photo: American Alpine Club/Cutting Edge Grants


Marvell, Cornell, and Rousseau will share the mountain, but not the route, with another first-class pair: Sam Hennessey and Michael Gardner.

Black and white portraits of the two climbers in casual clothes.

Sam Hennessey, left, and Michael Gardner. Photo: Samaya Equipment


Hennessey was also on Jannu in 2021, attempting Jannu East with Seth Timpano.

Below, some shots of Hennessey and Timpano (another Cutting Edge grantee for a climb in Kyrgyzstan), on the cliffs of Squamish, British Columbia yesterday.

Hennessey and Gardner will share more details about their upcoming Jannu climb after the expedition.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.