Pioneering in the Rolwaling – Part 2 of 2

Part 2 of 2: Recently reported by Alpinist Magazine, Alan Rousseau and Tino Villanueva wrapped up their second expedition in the Rolwaling Himal with the support of the AAC’s Lyman Spitzer Award and Beal ropes. Click here for the beginning of the story.

The following report and stories are the words of Alan Rousseau:

Photo by Alan Rousseau.
After our much needed break in Thame we came back over Teshi Laptsa pass (5775m) and returned to our base camp with still enough time to give Tengi Ragi Tau a solid effort.  After two days in our camp, again we walked to our West Face objective.  This time winds were borderline, but we decided to have a closer look.  We battled a steady stream of face numbing spindrift for hours on the lower West face.  As the forecast promised by mid-day the winds had quieted and progress was steady. Lots of calf burning front pointing characterized the start of the route.  A few pitches offered exciting mixed steps and thin water ice slabs.  The most engaging pitch involved cutting feet with a knifeblade for pro.

Just as the sun was setting Tino popped onto a snow ledge just wide enough for our single wall tent. And with that we had arrived at our first planned bivy at the base of a slightly overhanging wall at 6200 meters.  All night we heard objects whizzing past us with fortunately only small objects bouncing off our ultra thin tent.

Photo by Alan Rousseau.
 The second day started a series of traversing pitches across a ribbon of alpine ice, progress was again going quickly until we came to an unconsolidated convex roll.  We tiptoed below the roll over and climbed a couple loose rock pitches to bypass it.  We reached our second planned bivy (the highest spot we felt we could sleep) with a bit of light left, however, the spot was more exposed than we were comfortable with.  Above our high point was a rock band and the final exposed summit snow slopes. We debated for a bit, but came to an agreement the spot was too exposed.  With that we hesitantly began our descent off the wall, four hundred meters below the summit.

We had been planning this trip for two years.  The west face had become a bit of an obsession, and it was very hard to turn away after climbing over 5,000’ of terrain.  Our double rope system of Beal Ice Lines helped us make a speedy descent.  Somewhere around 25, 60-meter rappels over eight hours brought us down to the base of the wall.  Our anchors of slung blocks, v threads, and stoppers of varying quality got us down.

Photo by Tino Villanueva.
Although we fell short of the summit of T.R.T. on this expedition we climbed 9,000’ of previously unclimbed terrain, and have the first recorded ascent of the west face of Pachermo.  Once again the Rolwaling served up exciting objectives, valuable learning experiences, as well as a big old slice of humble pie.

Tengi Ragi Tau Route Profile. Photo by Tino Villanueva.

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