Nemjung South Face for Yannick Graziani and Christian Trommsdorff
From 11 - 16 October the French mountaineers Yannick Graziani and Christian Trommsdorff established a new route on the South Face of Nemjung 7140m in Nepal.
Yannick Graziani and Christian Trommsdorff departed from base Camp located at 4750m with just two 60m ropes, 4 icescrews, 6 camming devices, 10 nuts and some slings. The two French mountaineers needed 4 bivvies during the ascent (at 5300m, 5800m, 6200, 6500m) to get to grips with the 2400m long route, which they have graded ED+. Graziani and Trommsdorff reached the top of the south Face at 14.15 on 15 October but, given Trommsdorff's physical condition, they wisely opted against continuing to the summit, descending instead. This proved long and complicated and forced the two to spend another night on the face. As Trommsdorff explains, the two climbed what they belive to be a new route on the South Face... According to climbing.com, Nemjung has been climbed only once before by a Japanese team in 1983.
Trommsdorff and Graziani have joined forces on 14 Himalayan expeditions, form one of the strongest and longest Himalayan partnerships. In 2006 their ascent of Chomo Lonzo together with Patrick Wagnon was nominated for the XV Piolet d'or. We asked Trommsdorff to recount his latest effort, and adventure which the Frenchman defines as more demanding than that of Chomo Lonzo.
"We couldn't climb on Manaslu because of lack of acclimatisation and too much snow... we only managed 3 nights at 5200m, 5400m and 5600m on the ridges east and west of our basecamp, then we had a 12 day forced rest period. But in the end we managed to put up what we believe is a new route on the south face of Nemjung.
It was a great 6 day climb of the south spur, maybe the most beautiful we have ever done, certainly the most continuously steep, sustained and constantly exposed, although no pitches were as hard as the hardest ones on Chomolonzo or Pumari Chhish. There was always uncertainty about the key passages; on the last day there was a miraculous hole in the very corniced ridge to cross to the other side.
We reached the top of the South Face on 15 October at 2:15pm, but not the top of Nemjung; another bivvy would have been necessary to follow the fairly flat and long ridge to the summit, but the lower wind window was closing in on us and I felt too weak to keep going that day which would have meant a long descent in the dark, so we turned around. The previous day I had been hit on the helmet by big chunk of ice and I felt in a kind of state of shock, although I didn't loose consciousness. Later on the long way down I would have several moments of "absence", in particular when dropping Yannick's backpack.
The climb presents no objective dangers in stable conditions except for an easy 1 minute traverse of a couloir below the big serac. We waited 3 full days after the massive snow dump and started early on 11 October and returned to BC at 22pm on 16 Ocotber. Note that on the 2nd day the cold weather helped - the gully behind the first tower has some mixed sections with very poor rock-, and on the third day the absence of strong winds probably prevented ice from falling off the 1st serac on the ridge."