In Alpinist 24, the great Russian alpinist Valery Babanov declared, “Any ascent of Jannu is a leap into the unknown, and the unpredictability of the result grows geometrically with the increasing difficulty of the line…. Any path to Jannu would require the surpassing of ourselves.” On the Nepali side of the Kangchenjunga Himal, near the border with India, this 7710-meter summit remains one of the most challenging peaks in the world.
Now, for our most recent issue–Alpinist 57–Paul Hersey and Andy Lindblade chronicle stories of decades of climbers who have confronted its unique dangers and otherworldly allure. Graeme Dingle, Naoe Sakashita and Sergey Kofanov provide their own perspectives on its steep, icy walls–while local guide Dawa Sherpa describes what it’s like to live and work near the base of a mountain sacred to his culture.
Below are all four essays by Graeme Dingle, Naoe Sakashita, Sergey Kofanov and Dawa Sherpa from our Mountain Profile of Jannu / Kumbhakarna featured in Alpinist 57.
In 1975 New Zealand climber Graeme Dingle joined an expedition to the legendary Wall of Shadows on Jannu / Kumbhakarna, a 7710-meter peak in Nepal. High on the mountain, he looked up at an immense ice formation that seemed about to collapse. “You can’t tell me those cliffs are safe,” he said. “This is as far as I’m going.”
The great Japanese mountaineer Naoe Sakashita looks back on the first complete ascent of the north face of Jannu / Kumbhakarna to the summit of the 7710-meter Himalayan peak, and on his friendship with teammate Nobu-yuki Ogawa.
Russian alpinist Sergey Kofanov recounts his 2007 encounter with the “cosmic cold” shoulder of Jannu / Kumbhakarna, when he and Valery Babanov made the first ascent of the West Pillar in alpine style.
Local guide Dawa Sherpa describes what it’s like to live and work near the base of Jannu / Kumbhakarna–a mountain sacred to his culture.
These essays first appeared in Alpinist 57–Spring 2017 as part of our Jannu / Kumbhakarna Mountain Profile. To read the full Mountain Profile Subscribe today or order your own copy in the Alpinist.com store.