On October 27 the six-members Slovenian team (Marko Prezelj, Boris Lorencic, Rok Blagus, Tine Cuder, Matej Kladnik and Samo Krmelj) came home from their successful Tibet expedition. Their goal was to climb Chomolhari (7350m), known as “the bride of Kanchengjunga”, an impressing, pyramid mountain on the Tibet-Bhutan border.
For the Base Camp the team chose a place near the holy lake Chomo Lharang (c.5100m) under the north face of Chomolhari. After 10 days of acclimatization and climbing the nearby Jangmo Gopsha peak (6706m) the Slovenians decided to make an attempt to climb Chomolhari.
According to Marko Prezelj’s report:
Rok Blagus, Tine Cuder, Samo Krmelj and Matej Kladnik chose Left Couloir on the North Face. First day they climbed to c6800 m where they made bivy. The couloir was full of fresh snow and 45 and 60 degrees ice. On October 14 they climbed over the upper part of couloir (60 to 80 dgr.) to the East ridge on c7100 m. They followed the ridge to the summit. They descended to the bivy and continued the descend the next day mostly with rappeling. They graded their route TD+, 80/45-60, c1900m
Meanwhile Prezelj, in party with Boris Lorencic decided to reach the summit via a new route on the sectacular Northwest Ridge.
From the bivy we climbed the couloir with the traverse to the right onto mixed buttres and up to the crest of NW Ridge. In the couloir we found knee deep snow and on steep sections of hard snow and ice.”
The weather condition during all the ascent were very difficult with strong wind and snowfall.
The wind was strong, mixed with hard snow crystals and the climbing was serious up to M6+. We managed to climb the steep mixed section where we found some challenging passages of vertical sugar snow and sections with thin ice which was not sticked to the rock. The exit from rock to snow section was very challenging because there was constant flow of wind mixed with hard snow crystals and it was not easy to look up.
On the fifth day early in the morning the team started climbing the last mixed section. After three long pitches they got to the steep section with very deep snow. From there it was only 100meters of climbing to the summit. At first Prezelj and Lorencic intended to descent the mountain via South Ridge, however they estimated the conditions to be too dangerous. The pair decided to descent by NW Ridge where they already had prepared their bivy spots. On the sixth day they got to the BC.
In general, it was a serious climbing where logistics and choices of the tactics were probably more important than just “difficult moves of the body”. I led the entire climb and we graded the route ED2, M6+/30-70, c1950 m.