Nives Meroi Clears Up Their Kangchenjunga Plans

Peter Hamor, Nives Meroi, and Romano Benet’s upcoming expedition to the Kangchenjunga massif is drawing a lot of attention in a season when no other teams have announced plans to open new routes in the Himalaya. But the exact location of the climb has caused some confusion. Here is a clarifying interview with Nives Meroi.

Hamor recently announced the team would try to climb a new route on the south side of Kangbachen, the westernmost — and lowest, at 7,902m — point of the Kangchenjunga massif. However, Romano Benet explained that their actual summit target was Yalung Peak via the southeast pillar/spur.

General view of Kangchenjunga massif, with 4 points marked.

Four of the five points of the Kangchenjunga massif, with the main summit on the right. Photo: Peter Hamor


“That’s right: together with Peter, we’ll try to climb the southeast spur of Yalung Peak,” Nives Meroi told ExplorersWeb. “Then if it’s possible to traverse, we’ll try to climb up to Kangbachen.”

Yalung or Kangbachen?

But then, why did Hamor speak only of Kangbachen?

“Because Yalung Peak is not listed as a ‘peak’ by Nepal’s Department of Tourism, so we had to apply for a climbing permit for Kangbachen.”

sketch map of Kangchenjunga

Map of the Kangchenjunga massif and its western peaks.


Indeed, Yalung Peak (not to be mistaken with Yalung Kang, 1,000m higher and close to Kangchenjunga’s main summit) is typically considered a “bump” or secondary point of Kangbachen. In some books, Yalung Peak is identified as Kangbachen West or Peak 7535.

It is also frequently mistaken with the nearby Anidesh Chuli, also known as the White Wave (attempted by a Japanese team last year).

Fewer crevasses

So the final goal is Kangbachen, even if their south face route goes up Yalung Peak first, Meroi explained. “We’ll try to climb a new route from the Yalung Glacier, not the one we tried in 2019.”

On that first occasion, the Italian couple tried a more direct approach to Kangbachen, but a maze of seracs and crevasses along the route pushed them back.

“We’d have needed ladders, as in the Khumbu Icefall, to overcome such an obstacle,” Meroi and Benet reported at the time. They retreated midway up the face.

Meroi looking to a maze of seracs, some 3 meters tall.

Nives Meroi faced seracs on their previous attempt on Kangbachen’s south face in 2019. Photo: Nives Meroi

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.