Posted on: September 1, 2006

This past winter in the Khumbu Region of the Himalaya, while working with the Khumbu Climbing School, Whit Magro managed to find time for some climbing of his own.

With one day left in Nepal, Whit Margo completed the first free solo ascent of Losar (VI WI5 700M), which climbs through the obvious shaded chute for a tiring 700m of sustained, vertical ice. [Photo] Whit Magro

After the two-week school of ice-climbing instruction with the Sherpa students around the Khumbu, Magro and climbing partner Ross Lynn, also a KCS instructor, attempted a winter ascent of Cholatse's Southwest Ridge. Feeling well acclimatized, the duo climbed to within an hour from the 6440-meter summit before opting to go down in the face of darkness and dropping temperatures. After seven hours of heinous rappelling in the dark they arrived back at their tent at 5547 meters, and were back in base camp three days after beginning their assault.


After the Cholatse attempt, Magro, back in Namche, took full advantage of the one day he had left in the Khumbu. On February 5, he completed the first free solo of the world class Losar (VI WI5, 700m). This stunning climb hangs directly across the valley from Namche, ripping vertically through vegetated cliff for a sustained 700 meters. The route tops out on a high plateau where the top of the world is easily viewed. Climbing with the very least of gear, Magro made the leashless ascent of the route in four hours. Another two hours of rappelling off V threads put him back at his pack, safe and sound for a roundtrip time of six hours.

His was the fourth ascent of Losar that winter; he also got the first of the year with KCS instructor Brady Robinson. For future parties wanting to climb this route there is now a permit required from the Nepal Mountaineering Association so plan ahead.

—Whit Magro, Jackson, Wyoming

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