|On Tuesday 4 May at 7.00am (CET) Simone Moro and Bruno Tassi from Italy and Denis Urubko from Kazakhstan reached the summit of Khali Himal (7066m), otherwise known as Baruntse North. Immediately afterwards the trio began their difficult descent, after having abandoned plans of continuing along the crest to the main Baruntse summit (7129m) due to dangerously strong winds. The three reached Base Camp safely on 5 May after a further bivouac on the crest. |
This is the first ascent of the 2550m high North Face of Baruntse. Moro describes it as "really big, vertical, dangerous, impressive." The three "struggled for four days and nights" up ice and rock, constantly battling "against the wind and cold." The result: "Ciao Patrick", a new, difficult 2500m line (the final 1350m climbed alpine style) dedicated to the mythical mountaineer Patrick Berhault, who died recently whilst climbing in the Alps.
The ascent is, without a doubt, a great achievement for Simone Moro, Bruno Tassi, Denis Urubko and Boris Khorshunov, the fourth member of the expedition who played a vital role in the first stage of the ascent (despite his 70 years of age!).
6 May 2004
New route on Khali Himal or Baruntse Nord 7066m
The report by Simone Moro from Base Camp
""It was very difficult, extremely difficult... but in the end, giving all we had, we succeeded. The North Face of Khali Himal, or Baruntse North, is really big, vertical, dangerous, impressive... It was virgin and unclimbed, and had only been eyed by trekkers and climbers, in search of an ideal line.
We knew that we would have to use all our physical strength and technical capacities to succeed. And we did.... We struggled for four days and nights against the wind and cold, climbing through mixed terrain up ice and rock. The three of us bivvied for four nights in a tent designed for two people. We never managed to find a flat ledge to pitch the tent, and our legs often dangled into the void...
We used ice screws, rock pitons, ice axes, friends and nuts to get to grips with the complicated wall, but the real struggle was against the impossible wind and cold. We endured gusts of wind up to 35m/sec (120 Km/h) on the summit, and the true battle was staying put and not getting blown away!
Publishing the length and grade of the route now seems "sterile", but we will do so nevertheless. What is sure is that the route has been climbed, the summit reached, and the line baptized Ciao Patrick, in honour of Patrick Berhault. He was a friend and mythical figure, both for the climbing community and beyond. He'll be missed by all those who live in this vertical world, and especially by those who met him."
The virgin north face of Baruntse 7129m is located in front of the South Face of Lhotse (8516m) and forms part of the mountain chain that separates Everest 8850m from Makalu 8463m. The North Ridge was climbed by a French expedition in 1980, while all other ascents have been carried out via the opposite SE Ridge. Baruntse is well-known to all who have entered the upper Hongo basin as it spectacularly dominates the valley head and the Amphu Labsta pass. The first ascent was carried out by Edmund Hillary and an Anglo-New Zealand expedition, which breached the East Face and SE Ridge in 1954, a year after the first ascent of Mt. Everest.