Tawoche Central South Buttress by Renan Ozturk and Cory Richards
In mid-January Renan Ozturk (USA) and Cory Richards (CAN) carried out the first ascent of the Central South Buttress of Tawoche (Khumbu Valley, Nepal) in alpine style (1200m ED2 VI 5.10 M4/5).
A year after the first ascent on Kwangde Shar together with Ines Papert, Canadian alpinist Cory Richards returned to Nepal together with US climber Renan Ozturk to leave a mark on the beautiful and difficult Tawoche (also referred to as Taboche) which lies to the west of the main trek to Everest Base Camp.
Climbing over a period of four days in alpine style, the North Americans climbed a 1200m line with difficulties up to ED2 VI 5.10 M4/5 along the mountain's Central South Buttress. The two set off on 13 January and climbed the first section of the route, marked by long run-outs and total absence of snow and ice. Despite the lack of water Richards declared "It seems just about as painful to head down as it does to go up, so we might as well head for the snow."
The next day the two climbed the crux section of the route, marked by friable, loose rock and reached their second bivvy and, importantly, snow and ice which finally enabled them to re-hydrate after 36 hours on the mountain. The weather remained stable and the next day they reached the summit at 6500m without particular difficulties and then began their abseil descent, which they concluded after a further bivvy on 16 Janaury.
On the same mountain, Fumitaka Ichimura and Genki Narumi from Japan carried out an important first ascent up the cold North Face in November 2009. The two climbed the 1500m high face in alpine style and after encountering difficulties up to VI AI5R reached the summit after two bivvies, before descending to the south.
Apart from the ascent of Tawoche, Ozturk and Richards are in Nepal to help the Khumbu Climbing School to teach Sherpa and local climbers the basics of how to climb in safety. Their interesting blog is worth checking out as it gives nigh "real-time" video dispatches of the ascent. Published below is the final summit day and descent which gives a good idea about the demanding nature of their climb.