More Details from the First Ascent of Chumbu

There were cheers and toasts in Kathmandu yesterday. Zdenek Hak’s team was back in town, safe and sound with a remarkable first ascent under their belts. They had just knocked over the west face of the previously unclimbed Chumbu (6,859m).
A red tent on a flat snow plateau, with the Everest group in background.

An awesome bivouac spot for the Czech team during their descent, with views to Pumori, Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. Photo: Zdenek Hak


The team gave a brief report of their summit last weekend but has now shared more details and pictures. The first bit of news is that the climbing team was down a member, after Juraj Koren contracted dengue fever. Dengue has struck down many climbers this fall season, including Chris Warner on Imagine Nepal’s Manaslu team, Mikel Inoriza of the Jannu East expedition, and Jost Kobusch.

Koren had planned to climb the mountain and then paraglide down from the summit. Hak also suffered from the virus but managed to recover in time to join the push with Radek Groh, Jaroslav Bansky, and Petr Kejklicek.

Climber belaying on an overhanging ice section.

Bansky belaying during the ascent. Photo: Zdenek Hak

The ascent

Climbing alpine style, the team set off from the Gaunara Glacier, climbed the west face, and descended south toward Changri Nup Glacier. “Because of snow conditions and unknown terrain, it was a very difficult climb. We assessed the overall classification as TD+,” Hak explained.
The four Czech climbers stand on the summit of Chumbu in clear weather.

The Czech team on the summit. Photo: Zdenek Hak


“We named the route “The Last Flight of the Falcon” as a tribute to our fellow mountain guide and friend Andrzej Sokolowsky, who recently died in the High Tatras,” Hak added.

Sokolowski was a Polish climber, instructor, and rescue worker. He died in September in a mountain-snowboarding accident together with his wife Roksana Knapik when they apparently fell in bad weather.

A red line drawn onto Chumbu mountain shows the new route.

The red line shows the approximate route. The green dots are likely bivy points on the Czechs’ new route up previously unclimbed Chumbu. Photo: Zdenek Hak


After the celebrations in Kathmandu’s Czech Pub (whose owner Subin Thakuri helped the team with some logistics), the climbers were scheduled to fly home today.
A group of five men sit around a pub table clinking glasses of beer.

Celebration time at Kathmandu’s Czech Pub. Photo: Subin Thakuri

In his short trip report, Hak noted that Chumbu was his ninth Asian mountain. Among the nine is Pakistan’s Gasherbrum I. There he opened a new route with Marek Holecek, for which they won a Piolet d’Or.

Radek Groh is also one of Holecek’s regular climbing mates. Together they opened a new route on Baruntse’s West Face, during which the weather trapped them for over a week during their descent.

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.