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Andy Houseman and Nick Bullock on the summit of Chang Himal (6750m), Nepal
Photo by Bullock collection
The impressive North Face Chang Himal (6750m) and the line of ascent chosen by Andy Houseman and Nick Bullock.
Photo by Bullock collection
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Chang Himal North Face, Andy Houseman and Nick Bullock ascent details


The details of the first ascent of the 1800m high North Face of Chang Himal, Kanchenjunga Himalaya, Nepal, climbed in a five day alpine-style push by the British alpinists Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman at ED+.

A few days ago we published an interim report about the first ascent of the North Face of Chang Himal, Nepal at the hands of British climbers Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman. The two climbed the 1800m high central Spur in a five day alpine-style push, from 29 October to 1 November, grading their line ED+.

The two British alpinists set out on 29 October from the bivvy beneath the face and, despite Houseman throwing up right at the start, pressed on and simul-climbed upwards beneath looming seracs, past unconsolidated snow and a rock buttress where they roped up and climbed at M4+, 60. At 3.00pm they had reached an altitude of circa 6000m and a fin of snow which provided the base for the short night.

Setting off from the bivvy the next morning proved stiff, with a 55m M5 pitch which led to the a second rock band, which was climbed with three testing pitches up to M6. Difficult terrain slowed progress and the two sought their second bivvy at approximately 6200m.

Day 3 dawned and after simul-climbing for 2 1/2 hours up a rightwards slanting snow ramp they reached the crest. The two then proceeded up rotten snow with dubious protection were forced to bivvy once more at 6550m, with “a fine, albeit chilly, view.”

Bullock and Houseman set off the next morning and, climbing light without their rucksacks, finally reached the knife-edge summit at midday, their entire route laid out directly beneath them. After half an hour on the summit they returned to their bivvy for the night, and the next day they spent 15 hours of abseiling and down-climbing to reach the safety of the starting snow cave.

Asked about the climb, Bullock stated “on a personal level it is very high to being one of the best mountain experiences I have had. Please do not misunderstand, this face is not death, it is not the living end, the best, the biggest, the highest the boldest the badest. In an autumn season where several new testing routes have been climbed, here in Nepal and in China, it is certainly not the hardest. What it is, what it was, was a step into the unknown, a challenge to surpass other mountain challenges we have experienced, a step onto the largest mountain face that both Houseman and I have had the balls to walk to the base and start climbing with just our bag packed. This is a mountain route that is not crazy, but a hard classic waiting a few more ascents. How about it?

In association with DMM, Mammut, Crux, Black Diamond, Mountain Equipment, Scarpa, S.I.S, (Science in Sport) and the Lyon Equipment Award. With fianancial support from The BMC, MEF, Nick Estcourt Award, Mark Clifford Award, Shipton/Tilman Award. Thanks also go to Loben of Lobenexpeditions.com for a great service provided for all red tape, transport and BC support, especially in supplying us with the best cook in the world (Buddy) definitely the reason we succeeded.





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