Six Italians Attempt Tengkampoche, Near Everest

Tengkampoche. Photo: Leonardo Gheza/Facebook

A six-man Italian team of Francois Cazzanelli, Francesco Ratti, Leonardo Gheza, Emrik Favre, Jerome Perruquet, and Roger Bovard is currently tackling 6,500m Tengkampoche in Nepal’s Khumbu Valley.

Although they have not shared their specific plan, media reports suggest that they will attempt the north side of the mountain, possibly even the unclimbed North Pillar.

Tengkampoche is Plan B

This Tengkampoche expedition came about after the team canceled its original objectives, K2 and Broad Peak, because of COVID restrictions and uncertainty. After some thought, they decided to discard the 8,000’ers entirely in favor of more technical peaks and alpine-style ascents, including up new lines.

The team’s Base Camp near Thame. Photo: Francesco Ratti

“We want to do exploratory alpinism,” Francois Cazarelli told Montagna.tv. The team acquired a permit for Tengkangpoche and a neighboring peak. Then they set up Base Camp above the village of Thame and began to scout the area. They claim that they are open to all options, from a new route to a re-do of some of the many interesting lines in the region.

Last week, they did a first acclimatization round to 5,600m. The heavy snows that have notoriously covered most of Nepal’s mountains this autumn kept them from advancing any further. Conditions have improved since then.

Leonardo Gheza on the approach trek to Base Camp. Photo: Leonardo Gheza

The team combines Cazarelli and Ratti’s wide experience with the enthusiasm of young climbers Gheza, Favre, Perruquet, and Bovard. Gheza already joined the two veterans on Denali and helped open ‘Amitié’, a new route on the Matterhorn’s South Face. This is his first experience in Nepal.

Tengkampoche’s most distinctive feature is its 2,000m North Face. Ueli Steck and Simon Anthamatten of Switzerland first climbed it in 2008 along a superb route (‘Checkmate’, VI/85° ice, M7+/6 A0). It won the pair a Piolet d’Or in 2009. The video below summarizes their climb (in French).

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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