DEXUE SHAN RANGE, SZECHWAN PROVINCE

Posted on: March 1, 2004


The north face of mount Grosvenor (6376m) in the Dexue Shan Range of the Szechwan Province, China. the Clyma-Payne first ascent route and attempts from late April and early May of 2003 are as follows: 1) Cave-Fowler Attempt, Spring 2003 2) McAdie-Nadin attempt, Spring 2003 3) North Face to West Ridge (V Scottish Grade 6, 1100m, Clyma-Payne, 2003). [Photo] Roger Payne

On November 5, Julie-Ann Clyma and I made the first ascent of Mount Grosvenor (6376m) by the north face and west ridge (Scottish Grade 6, 1000m), followed by a traverse down the east ridge to the Grosvenor/Jiazi Col. Because of initial daily snowfall, the approach from base camp (ca. 4200m) to the north face required two days and a lot of trail breaking. The climbing on the north face was mostly Scottish Grade 4 and 5 on very thin ice and neve with poor protection and some Scottish Grade 6 drytooling to fill in the blanks. The first day involved fifteen technical pitches with the last three pitches climbed in darkness, followed by a windy bivouac around 5900 meters on the crest of the exposed west ridge. The first part of the ridge was very loose, resulting in serious damage to the climbing ropes (both sheaths were almost fully cut through and "repaired" with bandages). The remainder of the ridge was fairly straightforward climbing on snow-covered slabs and occasional steeper steps. A windy camp was possible on a prominent snow shoulder at approximately 6100 meters; the next day, deep, crusty snow led to the final summit dome. The descent was made by the east ridge, with windy camps near 6200 and 5700 meters before returning to the north side of the mountain via abseils down the couloir between Grosvenor and Jiazi.

We found the access to the Daxue Shan range to be excellent, with locals and officials in Kangding and the Szechwan and Chinese Mountaineering Associations extremely helpful and hospitable. There are other good lines to climb on the northwest and north face of Grosvenor; in addition, five more virgin 6000-meter peaks exist in the Daxue Shan, and only two ridges have been climbed on the nearby (and very impressive) Minya Konka (7556m). Late October had heavy snowfall, but November brought clear, cold conditions, making ascents on east and south aspects attractive.

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— Roger Payne, Leysin, Switzerland

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