Deep Snow Foils Strong U.S. Jannu Team

Earlier this season, Nepal’s Department of Tourism listed an expedition to Mt. Kumbhakarna, better known as Mt. Jannu (7,710m). Five members, it read, all Americans. And that was all we knew.

Since they were tackling one of the most impressive mountain faces in the world, the climbers chose to keep a low profile until it was over. ExplorersWeb was in contact with their outfitter, but they shared the news only yesterday, as the team returned to Kathmandu.

Alan Rousseau led the AMG Jannu expedition, which consisted of two teams with separate goals, as Namgya Sherpa of Grand Himalaya told us.

Alan Rousseau on Mt. Foraker this past summer. Photo: Alan Rousseau


Alan Rousseau and Jackson Marvell attempted the North Face of Jannu, while Sam Hennessey and Seth Timpano tackled Jannu East. Both planned alpine-style ascents. But then bad weather rolled in to spoil everyone’s plans.

Both teams reached between 5,500 and 5,700m on their mountains. They were waiting in base camp for the right conditions for their summit pushes. Then, intense snow — the same that has caused havoc over much of Nepal and the Indian Himalaya — pounded them for days. Eventually, climbing the mountains stopped being an option. The climbers had to struggle through hip-deep snow just to get out of the area safely.

A strong team

All the climbers were first-class alpinists who’ve set new routes on ranges around the world. Utah-based IFMGA guide Alan Rousseau has opened lines in Nepal’s Rolwaling, Zanskar, and in North America. He was a 2020 Piolet d’Or winner for his ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau, West Face, Release the Kraken, A15, M5+.

Sam Hennesey on Mt. Huntington. Photo: Pete J. Lardy


Sam Hennessey , also IFMGA-certified, is a regular on Mt. Rainier, Denali (including the second ascent of Light Traveler, VI, M7, WI6), and Antarctica’s Vinson. The American Alpine Club had awarded him a Cutting-Edge Grant for this climb.

Jackson Marvell. Photo: Black Diamond


Jackson Marvell had climbed over 100 of Utah’s desert towers before he turned 21. However, he has also a wide resumé in Alaska, and a first ascent of Pakistan’s Sherpi Kangri II (7,100m).

Seth Timpano. Photo: Madison Mountaineering


Seth Timpano has led nearly 50 expeditions around the world and works with such outfitters as Alpine Ascents and Madison Mountaineering. His usual playgrounds are Alaska and Antarctica, which is where the members of the expedition first met their current operator in Nepal, Namya Sherpa. They became friends while guiding in the Ellsworth mountains.

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.