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Benjamin Billet

Seto Hi'um (TD: M4 WI4 1150m) on the south face of Chhopa Bamare (6109m) as seen from base camp. [Photo] Benjamin Billet

Benjamin Billet and John Kelley complete first ascent of Chhopa Bamare (6109m)

This past winter, from February 9 through March 3, Benjamin Billet, of France, and John Kelley, of Alaska, completed the first ascent of Chhopa Bamare (6109m) in Nepal. They summited on February 28 and named their route Seto Hi’um (TD: M4 WI4 1150m), which translates as “white snow” in Nepali. Kelley had made two previous attempts to climb the peak solo after the Nepalese government opened it for permits in 2014. “The first attempt was in December of 2017. I tried to get up the East Ridge. Made it up and over the East summit before turning back,” he told Alpinist. “The second attempt was in March of 2018. Didn’t get any farther than high camp due to snow and poor unsettled weather.” Billet told Montagnes Magazine that he met Kelley on the Internet a few months before the expedition, and that this was their first time climbing together. Billet wrote the following account for Alpinist.