Kangchenjunga Update: Gelje Sherpa Confirms Plans

Gelje Sherpa has checked in from Camp 4 on Kangchenjunga. “I just came back after rope fixing until 8,050m,” he said. “Everything looks good, weather is amazing here, and I could see the summit of this beautiful mountain…Tonight I am leaving for the summit.”

Client Tseng Ko-erg of Taiwan also reported from Camp 4 yesterday, but it was not clear whether she or the rope-fixing team might have climbed all the way to the top already.

The climb ahead

As Nives Meroi and Romano Benet explained recently on ExplorersWeb, the last 1,000m on Kangchenjunga make for a long summit day. According to Tseng, their Camp 4 is at 7,550m, higher than the one set in 2014 by Meroi and Benet. The Italians also climbed with no fixed ropes and no supplemental oxygen. So the Taiwanese and her Sherpa team should progress much faster until the end of the ropes, probably all the way up the snowy couloir. Then follows the crux of the climb, up the rocky face.

The lead climbers need not only good rock-climbing abilities. They must find the most logical route up this steep, technical face of mainly rock and mixed terrain.

Also, they will surely need to fix the route to the very top. Depending on the line they choose, they might even find a short rappel on their way to the summit. Romano Benet also mentioned that commercial expeditions follow a less direct route up the face than those with a lighter, more alpine-style approach, in order to get better places to fix ropes.

This topo by Seven Summit Treks (which is not outfitting the current expedition) shows the route usually followed by commercial expeditions from Camp 4 to the summit. It strays west to the ridge rather than aims straight for the summit. Photo: Seven Summit Treks