Kyajo Ri (October-November 2006)

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In October 2006, I returned to Nepal for the 6th time, with the goal to climb Kyajo Ri (6186m), a peak located a few kilometers west of Everest. This climb was guided by Kathy Cosley and Mark Houston. Ang Karma (Windhorse Trekking) organized the logistics. In addition to Kathy, Mark and me, the climbing team included Matt Scott (also from Stanford) and Emery Dameron (from San Francisco). The photo below shows Matt (left), me, Kathy, Emery (center right) and Mark (right), along with our support team from Windhorse Trekking.

 

Some pictures on this site have been taken by Mark and Matt. Mark′s website contains many other photos.

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Our trekking/climbing trip started and ended in Lukla. We began with an acclimatization trek around Kyajo-Ri, through Gokyo lakes (and an ascent of Gokyo Ri, 5360), Renjo Pass (5345m), and Thame (shown with blue dots in the map). Our approach and ascent route of Kyajo Ri is shown with red dots. To get a full resolution map, click on the map.

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Left: Landing in Lukla. Right: A log of the number of trekkers per year and month entering Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. We were not alone on the trail!

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Namche Bazar, the ″capital″ of the Sherpa people.

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A view of Everest from the hill between Namche Bazar and Khumjung.

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Autumn colors on the trail near Phortse Tenga .

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A first view of Kyajo Ri from Machhermo. (It is not a black-and-white photo. The lack of colors is due to the combination of fresh snow and dark weather.)

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Scenery between Machermo and the village of Gokyo.

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Village of Gokyo, with Dudh Pokhari (one of the Gokyo lakes) behind.

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Village of Cho Oyu from the village of Gokyo.

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View of Dudh Pokhari while climbing Gokyo Ri, with the village of Gokyo on its shore and Cholatse in the background.

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View of Everest while climbing Gokyo Ri.

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Frozen prayer flags at the summit of Gokyo Ri.

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View of Dudh Pokhari while ascending Renjo Pass, with Everest in the background (center).

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Approaching Renjo Pass.

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Crossing Renjo Pass.

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View from the village of Langden in the early morning.

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Terraces along Bhote Kushi river, near Marulung.

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Another view of Kyajo Ri (West face). Here, we can see the line of our ascent (just above the 45dg line in the snow).

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Rare Tibetan traders in the valley of the Bhote Kushi river, who seemed to have crossed Nangpa La, a pass between Tibet and Nepal. This pass is now fully sealed by the Chinese authorities.

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Houses in the village of Thame with Thamserku (6608m) in the background.

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Woman in Thame.

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Buddhist paintings along the trail between Thame and Samda.

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The canyon of the Thesebu Khola river seen from Thamo village. The trail to Kyajo Drangka, the hidden valley located south of Kyajo Ri, is on the left, much above the canyon.

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Mende village with Kongde Ri in the background (in the first photo below).

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An Impeyen pheasant (Nepal′s national bird).

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From Mende, the trail climbs steeply above the canyon of the Thesebu Khola river.

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A view of the trail.

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Kyajo Drangka, the hidden valley to the south of Kyajo Ri, after a light snowfall. We set up our base camp there.

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Our base camp in Kyajo Drangka.

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The first headwall at the end of Kyajo Drangka, on the way to high camp.

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Kyajo Drangka seen from the top of the first headwall.

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Valley above the first headwall. Kyajo Ri is the peak in the middle. The second headwall on the route to high camp is at the end of the valley slightly to the right.

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Same valley seen from the top of the second headwall.

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High camp with Kyajo Ri in the background. Our route will traverse the glacier on the left, then ascend to the pass, and finally climb Kyajo Ri. The last section is mostly on snow. We did the final push to the summit on November 1st. The round-trip between the high camp and the summit took us 16 hours non-stop (10 to reach the summit and 6 to return to the camp).

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View of our high camp, looking toward the south (hence, toward Kyajo Drangka).

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Two other views of Kyajo Ri.

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Crossing a rock section below the pass.

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Left: Reaching the pass. Right: At the pass.

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View toward the summit from the pass. The view is somewhat misleading: it took us about 6 hours to reach the summit from there!

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Matt and Emery (left) and Kathy and me (right) just above the main rock section above the pass.

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Still climbing... More and more clouds.

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Left: Kathy and I on a steeper section. Right: Getting close to the summit.

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Left: Emery and Matt at the summit. Right: Starting the descent with Kathy lowering me down, and Mark watching.

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Chitwan National Park:

After the ascent of Kyajo Ri we returned to Lukla and flew to Kathmandu. We had three more days to spend in Nepal, so we went to Chitwan National Park (a first for me). These are some photos of this short trip.

 

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