Paul got back from Tibet a couple of weeks ago having made the first ascent of the North Buttress of Nyainqentagla South East (7047m). He is back in Saudi now so a bit of a contrast in temperatures.
He was climbing with Nick Bullock this time, making the second ascent of the peak and most likely the first ever access to the north side by climbers. It was a brilliant trip, first of all because it was Tibet and because climbing permits are pretty rare. Also there was just the two of them with no base camp support, which made it feel like real exploring – despite the bears and the lions but thats another story!
The climb itself was really good with 1600m of climbing and pretty steep in places. Nick likened the bottom half to the Colton Macintyre on the Grandes Jorasses and the top half was more of a Peuterey Arete. It was Paul’s first time to 7000m so much panting was involved. The weather in the region is particularly bad, probably due to the adjacent high altitude lake that makes sure there is always plenty of moisture in the air. It snowed, hailed, rained, the wind blew, then a tiny bit of sunshine – it was cloudy most days most of the time.
The route involved four bivies on the way up and two on the way down. Paul was particularly pleased with the latest version of his snow hammock, which allowed them to pitch a tent almost anywhere there was snow.They ended up descending into a different valley as it looked safer but it turned into a real flog getting back to base camp.