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Posted on: December 1, 2005
The northeast and north faces of Cholatse. [Photo] Ueli Steck
On April 15 I made a solo ascent of the French Route (VI 90 degrees, 1400m) on Cholatse's north face with a new variant above 5900 meters. The grade is hard to tell—I encountered some rock up to 5+ M6 and ninety-degree ice. I found the route very difficult—thirty-seven hours of technical and sometimes dangerous climbing until I reached the summit at 4 p.m.
On April 25 I soloed a route on the left side of the east face of Tawoche (6501m). This route mostly consisted of fifty- to sixty-degree ice. On the upper part I climbed several vertical ice pitches over seracs; on the lower part I had some mixed climbing, maybe M5.... I didn't use a rope, so I can't say exactly how many pitches I climbed overall, but the route was around 1500 meters long. I started from base camp at 11:30 p.m. and reached the summit at 4 a.m. I made it back to base camp by 8 a.m., in time for breakfast.
On May 3 and 4 I attempted the Stane Belak Strauf Memorial Route (VI 5.7 AI5 A2+, 1650m, Furlan-Humar) on the northwest face of Ama Dablam (6812m). I had already climbed above the crux pitch—above me was only some moderate ice—when I turned back at 5900 meters because of avalanche danger. But my decision was a good one: afterward it snowed for three days.
It's a big game, soloing in the Himalaya!
Ueli Steck, Interlaken, Switzerland
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