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American new routes on China peaks: Chad Kellogg topping the Angry Wife

Posted: Nov 18, 2005 04:14 pm EST

(MountEverest.net) Americans Chad Kellogg, Joe Puryear, and Stoney Richards are back from China, where they climbed a number of peaks in Mt. Siguniang National Park. Bad weather prevented the team from reaching their main goal (Mt. Siguniangs North West wall), but at least they made it to the top of two most probably unclimbed rocky peaks nearby.

In the following debrief, Chad recounts six weeks of expedition in an area scarcely visited by westerners. The guys report a trip of mixed emotions, buckets of rain and peaks with new names.

Rain pouring down Chinas big walls
China Debrief by Chad Kellogg

"Our six week expedition was filled with mixed emotions. Jay Janousek, Joe Puryear, Stoney Richards, Paul Saddler and I flew to Chengdu, China on September 8th. We began our acclimatization from Rilong.

We used our first weather window to summit Camel Peak (5484 meters) as a team of five. We summited during the only sixteen hour weather window possible. Then Paul flew back to the states and Joe, Stoney and I began work on the NW wall of Siguniang (6250 meters).

Retreat from Siguiniang and a new strategy

Joe and I established the first four pitches of the 1100 meter wall during a two day window. We were continually hammered by heavy rain and snow fall. Eventually we were forced to retreat after making a high point of only 5,500 meters. The weather closed out for two weeks and we were forced to abandon the route due to lack of time.

Joe, Stoney and I decided to change tactics following Siguniang. The last week we were there, the weather finally broke and we were able to make the first ascent of two rock peaks to the west of Mt. Siguniang.

On top of the Angry Wife

We set our path up the Chiwen Valley and discovered a beautiful ridge route up valley from Celestial Peak. We climbed to the summit to determine that we had completed the first ascent of the unnamed peak. We named the peak "The Angry Wife" and called our route "Raindog Arête" (5.10c, 550 meters).

The new route was ten pitches long with six pitches of 5.10. Raindog Arête refers to the poor weather and our associations to Mt. Rainier.

The following day we hiked over a pass between the head of the Chiwen Gorge and the Shuangqiao Valley to the west. This was a pivotal move that dropped us into the basin at the base of Mount Daugou (5465 meters).

Sharing the lead on Mount Daugou

On the morning of October 13th we climbed up the 650 meter South Face of Daugou. I lead the first half of the route in a block and Joe lead the second half of the face in the next block. Joe got the crux of the route on the final pitch. An ice filled off-width crack lead to an unprotected chimney. Joe pulled the 5.10d crux at nearly 5,500 meters.

We discovered no signs of previous parties on the mountain. The three of us reached the true pinnacle of the summit at dusk. We reveled in the momentary views as the clouds pushed by. We were on top of Mount Daugou, the highest point on the three immediate valleys. We descended safely through the night rappelling 17 pitches off of single pieces. We named our route Salvage Op (5.10d, 650m).

Chad Kellogg is a native of Washington State. He has climbed Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Denali, and won the speed climb on Khan Tengri in 2003. Longer-range goals include speed ascents on 8,000-meter peaks and alpine style first ascents.

Previously this year, Chad Kellogg and Joe Puryear put up a new 20 pitch route on the SE side of Kichatna Spire, Alaska. The pair climbed the route - rated 5.10, A2 - in a 25.5 hour roundtrip push.

Chad is possibly the fastest climber in North America today. On June 17th 2003, he broke the speed record for the West Buttress route on Denali with a time of 14 hrs and 22 min. The previous record was 18.5 hrs. Chads round trip time was 23 hrs and 55 min. Lisa Roderick (the Base Camp manager at Denali), rangers at 14,000ft and a National Geographic crew witnessed him.

Back from their recent trip to Mt. Siguniang National Park, China, the team claims first ascent of two peaks :

The Angry Wife (5,020 meters) previously unnamed: Raindog Arête (5.10c, 550 meters) October11, 2005. First Ascent: Chad Kellogg, Joe Puryear, Stoney Richards.

Mt. Daugou (5,465 meters): Salvage Op. (5.10d, 650 meters) October 13, 2005. First Ascent: Chad Kellogg, Joe Puryear, Stoney Richards.


"We set our path up the Chiwen Valley and discovered a beautiful ridge route up valley from Celestial Peak," reported Chad in 2005. "We climbed to the summit to determine that we had completed the first ascent of the unnamed peak. " In the image, Joe and Stoney during the ascent of the peak, named "The Angry Wife" (click to enlarge).
Image by Chad Kellogg courtesy Chad Kellogg
Spectacular solo of Lunag Ri this winter. Now Chad is back for speed attempt on Everest.
"Savage Op", the new 5.10d, 650m-long route opened by Chad, Joe and Stoney on the South face of Mount Daugou. The team found no traces of previous ascents (click to enlarge).
Topo of Angry wife north ridge.