At 14.30 h on 29 October, we stood on the summit of the 7350m high Jasemba. But we weren’t exactly ecstatic – because Jasemba has no gently sloping sides. Just like the Matterhorn, on the summit you are only at the half-way point. However, we made it back to our camp at 6900m on the same evening and the next day got all the way back down – with a total of 25 abseils on ice anchor points, wedges and camalots, a buried ice pick and a buried section of a telescopic pole. Now we’re back in base camp, very happy and exhausted.
We started out on 25 October. After a five-hour tramp over the jagged Somna Glacier, we reached the foot of the wall at 5800m. The next day we made good progress. A little ice climbing and then a snow tramp. Almost euphoric, we set up our tent on a snow mushroom at an altitude of 6900m. We spent the night roped up. The snow mushroom on which our tent stood would have turned every last hair on the head of a SUVA-insurance building- site inspector white! Next day the terrain was extremely treacherous: snow mushrooms as big as cars and lorries, in between them steep ice walls standing in the way. When you climb on ice, you can secure yourself firmly with ice screws. However, in bottomless snow, you can only inch forward, almost like a vole, without any viable securing device. You ask yourself what this actually has to do with climbing and your nerves are on edge because it’s always one step forward and two back. With a day’s performance of “only” 400 height metres and rather whacked, we set up our bivouac at 6900m. A crevice in a snow mushroom provided just enough space for our two-man tent. You can imagine how comfortable the night was. The altitude and exertions of the past three days did not exactly boost our morale for the push to the summit. A 150-metre-high cliff barrier with vertical passages and another 300 metres of deep furrowed snow demanded everything our team had to give. But thanks to our team spirit and motivation, we made it.
Our first ascent of the south wall was also the first time for the summit to be reached in Alpine style.
Summit success via previously unclimbed Jasemba south wall (7350m)
Yesterday, 29 October 2009, Simon and Samuel Anthamatten and Michi Lerjen reached the summit of Jasemba (7350m) via the previously unclimbed south wall. They started out on Monday, 26 October 2009. Yesterday, at 14.30 h, they stood on the summit. They then climbed back down to 6900 metres where they bivouacked for another night. Today they returned to base camp. All three are fit and well. Tomorrow they will head for Namche Bazar and then return to Kathmandu as quickly as possible. Details on the successful ascent of Jasemba will follow.
Too much wind!
We have the most beautiful weather but there is too much wind at 7000 meters: 90 km/h! The forecast for the next days looks promising: it should stay dry and sunny the whole week with wind speeds at 7000 meters between 30 and 40 km/h and at 7500 meters between 50 and 60 km/h. Temperatures: minus 17 degrees. Maybe we start tomorrow Monday.
Step by step!
We’ve been on the move for four days to acclimatize ourselves. We’ve spent two nights at 6000m and one on a summit at 6300m. This was a mountain of which we know nothing: its name, indeed whether it even has a name, or whether it has already been climbed. At the moment it’s not important, the main thing is that we are in form for the altitude. Now we’ve gone back down to base camp to rest. Strong winds are forecast for the next few days. Should this really be the case, we’ll have to wait for a while.
Namche Bazar base camp
After four days in the rain we’ve now reached base camp. The Sherpas have built it a little too low down so it’s clear what needs to be done: we have to dismantle the camp and relocate it at 5200m. At the moment we have 30cm of snow here, which doesn’t make things easy. But we’re upbeat and thrilled by the view of Jasemba – a real dream mountain! The planned route looks achievable – at least from down here. We’ll spend the next few days acclimatizing and studying the descent, because if we should manage to make it to the top, we have to get back down somehow. The weather is good and so is the forecast for the next few days. The conditions are right.
With yak steaks and milk tea
It was “off to adventure” for our team on 30 September. After 10 hours in the air, we arrived a little exhausted in Kathmandu. To be hit by a small culture shock: total chaos and yet things work! After two days in Kathmandu and some bureaucracy, we were happy to fly to Lukla where the pilots landed on the tiny airstrip despite the rain. After a five-hour hike, we reached Namche Bazar, 3440 metres above sea level – the Zermatt of the Himalayas. We had a day’s rest with yak steaks and milk tea before setting out for base camp the next morning. We estimate that we’ll reach it in four to five one-day stages. We’re eager to see Jasemba at last, because only then will we be able to say what actually awaits us.