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This past winter in the Khumbu Region of the Himalaya, while working
with the Khumbu Climbing School, Whit Magro managed to find time for
some climbing of his own.

With one day left in Nepal, Whit Margo completed the first free solo ascent of Losar (VI WI5 700M), which climbs through the obvious shaded chute for a tiring 700m of sustained, vertical ice. [Photo] Whit Magro

After the two-week school of ice-climbing instruction with the Sherpa
students around the Khumbu, Magro and climbing partner Ross Lynn, also a
KCS instructor, attempted a winter ascent of Cholatse’s Southwest Ridge.
Feeling well acclimatized, the duo climbed to within an hour from the
6440-meter summit before opting to go down in the face of darkness and
dropping temperatures. After seven hours of heinous rappelling in the
dark they arrived back at their tent at 5547 meters, and were back in
base camp three days after beginning their assault.

After the Cholatse attempt, Magro, back in Namche, took full
advantage of the one day he had left in the Khumbu. On February 5, he
completed the first free solo of the world class Losar (VI WI5, 700m).
This stunning climb hangs directly across the valley from Namche,
ripping vertically through vegetated cliff for a sustained 700 meters.
The route tops out on a high plateau where the top of the world is
easily viewed. Climbing with the very least of gear, Magro made the
leashless ascent of the route in four hours. Another two hours of
rappelling off V threads put him back at his pack, safe and sound for a
roundtrip time of six hours.

His was the fourth ascent of Losar that winter; he also got the first of
the year with KCS instructor Brady Robinson. For future parties wanting
to climb this route there is now a permit required from the Nepal
Mountaineering Association so plan ahead.

–Whit Magro, Jackson, Wyoming