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Notice: Undefined variable: top_comments in /usr/local/www/mountainru/data/article/mainarticle.php on line 486 Author: Marek Holecek, Czech Republic

Baruntse West Face
Heavenly trap

The goal of me and "Radar" (Radoslav Groh) was the western wall of the Baruntse (7129m), rising from the Hunku valley, in the Khumbu region. For several years, I had carried this idea in my head on beautiful wall with a new line, which showed great respect in my eyes. I revived the idea in 2019, when I saw Baruntse again in its full beauty. However, at that time there was another top on the list a little further in the same valley where we went with Zdenda "Hek" Hek, to climb a new path to the NW wall of Chamlang. But that single look was enough for me to say that I had to go back there, and so it happened this year. We arrived at the base camp under the Barunts wall on 13 May. We were already well acclimatized from the previous trek, so we just waited for four consecutive days of good weather to appear so we could start climbing the west face. We were already well acclimatized from the previous trek, so we just waited for four continuous days of good weather, then we could start climbing the western wall.

21th of May

We pack climbing material and food for six days and go to the glacier. We bivouac just below the entrance to the wall.

22th of May

We start climbing and immediately run into climbing problems from the first meters. There was hard ice in the lower parts, which often turned into mixed sections. This is because the western wall has undergone a major change in the last dry years. A lot of snow and ice disappeared from the slopes. For example, the ascent of the 1997 expedition of Sergey Efimov. This ascent led through a pillar of the western wall. Significantly to the left of our direction. In the current conditions, I can't imagine anyone repeating it.

Due to the complexity of the terrain, our progress could not be accelerated. On the contrary, more and more difficult sections were added. With the rising day sun and temperature, stone projectiles began to fly around us, carrying death. After ten hours on the crampons, we have no choice but to dig an ice platform and survive the bivouac in a sitting position, suspended on a rope. Wrong place and about a hundred meters lower than we originally planned to climb.

23th of May

The weather is good. We climb to the ice plate, which leads us diagonally to the left over the snow organ, to the rock sections. We hack ice axes in hard ice all day and climb from one groove, which is always bordered by a rib made of non-holding and loose snow. The process is slow and costs us a lot of energy. Before sunset we find a hole for a tent in one snow rib and we make a bivouac.

24th of May

In the morning we find the most difficult passage of the ascent. Above our head we have a 250 meter barrier of broken rock. It takes us a while to decide where our steps will lead. The ascent began to slow down and the weather broke down. Finally, with all our might, we climb seventy meters below the ridge during a heavy snowfall. We have to camp there. Fortunately, we find a rocky outcrop, protruding above the valley, which is exactly large for our tent. Fortunately, we find a rocky outcrop, protruding above the valley, which is exactly large for our tent. We are building an airy bivouac and snow rivers are falling around us all night.

25th of May

The weather is bad, but there is no other way than to climb the ridge, then the top and go down the classic way. It's easy to say, but the falling snow, including the wind, and the last mix sections will take up all day again. We reach the top around 4 pm, completely frozen and we can't see the step due to the fog. We make a tent. At night, a hurricane came and completely covered our tent with new snow. The strong wind did not stop in the morning, bringing new torrents of snow. We tried a few tens of meters lower, but then we set up the tent again and climb into it. It was not possible to continue the descent.

27-28th of May

The weather is devilish and even ordinary basic tasks, such as boiling water or going to urinate, are on the limits of survival. We free the tent from the grip of the snow several times. We wait on the spot and pray. There is nothing more you can do. We already have everything wet, frozen and we are cold.

29th of May

The weather improved a bit, the wind calmed down and at least a little was visible. We descend more than 1000 m along a sharp ridge that leads into the valley. However, due to the amount of new snow and the risk of avalanches, the progress is slow. In the afternoon it is clear that today we will not be able to climb the glacier below the foot and another unpleasant bivouac awaits us.

30th of May

It's a beautiful morning and the promise of a nice day. We immediately take advantage of the opportunity and call for helicopter via satellite phone. The reasons were clear, no one in BC was waiting for us. There was a lot of new snow on the slopes and in the valley, which was constantly falling down. Neither of us wanted to push ourselves with avalanches after those days. Fortunately, our call was heard and at 7 o'clock in the morning we were freed from the ice hell by a helicopter, which took us directly across the Himalayas to Lukla in 30 minutes.

The End «Heavenly Trap» we have called the new rute, which leads through the western wall of Baruntse 7129m. Difficulties of ascent are ABO + (M6 + / VI + / 80 °), found ascent meters 1800m (1300m elevation gain). The climbing partner is Radoslav Groh. The date of ascent is from 21.5 till 30.5. 2021. We agreed that we wanted to dedicate it to our two friends "Petr Machold and Kuba Vanek", who got lost in this wall eight years ago and no one has seen them since.

Video from Radoslav Groh GoPro camera:

  • The West Face of Baruntse 1995
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