The northeast and north faces of Cholatse. [Photo] Ueli Steck
On April 15 I made a solo ascent of the French Route (VI 90 degrees, 1400m)
on Cholatse’s north face with a new variant above 5900 meters. The grade
is hard to tell–I encountered some rock up to 5+ M6 and ninety-degree
ice. I found the route very difficult–thirty-seven hours of technical
and sometimes dangerous climbing until I reached the summit at 4 p.m.
On April 25 I soloed a route on the left side of the east face of
Tawoche (6501m). This route mostly consisted of fifty- to sixty-degree
ice. On the upper part I climbed several vertical ice pitches over
seracs; on the lower part I had some mixed climbing, maybe M5…. I
didn’t use a rope, so I can’t say exactly how many pitches I climbed
overall, but the route was around 1500 meters long. I started from base
camp at 11:30 p.m. and reached the summit at 4 a.m. I made it back to
base camp by 8 a.m., in time for breakfast.
On May 3 and 4 I attempted the Stane Belak Strauf Memorial Route (VI 5.7
AI5 A2+, 1650m, Furlan-Humar) on the northwest face of Ama Dablam
(6812m). I had already climbed above the crux pitch–above me was only
some moderate ice–when I turned back at 5900 meters because of
avalanche danger. But my decision was a good one: afterward it snowed
for three days.
It’s a big game, soloing in the Himalaya!
Ueli Steck, Interlaken, Switzerland