Japanese Pair Try for First Ascent of Kangchung Nup’s North Face

Every spring, while hundreds of climbers target the 8,000’ers, a handful of alpinists focus on lonelier, lesser peaks, with appealing lines or unclimbed faces. This year, Takeshi Tani and Toshiyuki Yamada of Japan are aiming for the first ascent of the North Face of Kangchung Nup.

First ascent to Edmund Hillary

Kangchung Nup (6,090m), also known as Cholo Peak, Abi, or Kangchung West, lies in the Khumbu east of the Gokyo Glacier and lakes. It is not far from Cho Oyu’s South Face, recently attempted by two Nepali teams.

Kangchung Nup, orange triangle. Map: CamptoCamp.org

None other than Edmund Hillary and other members of the 1953 Everest expedition first climbed Kangchung Nup via its SE Face for acclimatization before Everest. One year later, Charles Evans repeated the ascent with three Sherpas. He also bagged the first summit of Kangchung Nup’s twin peak, Kangchung Shar (6,083m).

There is, however, no record of any successful route from the north. A Czech expedition in 2014 reached as far as 5,900m but had to retreat because of dangerous conditions on the face, according to the American Alpine Journal.

Tani and Yamada live most of the year in Canada, where they work as mountain guides. But they are also members of the Japanese Alpine Club, which has awarded them a grant of 300,000 yen ($2,400) for this project.

Takeshi and Yamada arrived in Kathmandu today. Photo: Toshiyuki Yamada

More permits possible

So far, Nepal has issued few climbing permits for alpine-style teams on 6,000-7,000m peaks. One eight-member team will attempt 6,150m Bhemdan Ri in Langtang. (The peak’s name and altitude vary from source to source.)
On the other hand, small teams often go with several options in mind. Only after they assess the conditions on each potential peak do they apply for their climbing permit.