An approximate line of ascent for South Central Buttress (ED VI 5.10 M4/5, 1200m) on Tawoche (6501m), Khumbu Himal, Nepal. Renan Ozturk and Cory Richards fought dehydration to climb the new route over three days, January 13-15. This image was captured from the team’s fifth video dispatch.
Renan Ozturk of Colorado and Cory Richards of Canmore, Alberta, have climbed a new route on Tawoche’s (6501m) south central buttress, in Nepal’s Khumbu Himal. After a three-day blast up 1200 meters of rock and ice, they summited on January 15.
Though the climbers faced cruxy stretches of loose rock, perhaps more challenging was their fight against dehydration. Unacclimatized, in part due to illness, Richards and Ozturk headed for their main objective and set up base camp in early January. They began climbing on the 13th with a stove but little water, expecting to encounter snow. But their first day of climbing was dry–all rock and nothing to melt. Already dehydrated at their first bivy site, Ozturk and Richards decided that descending would be just as painful as continuing to the snow above. The next day, fighting dehydration cramps, they reached snow ca. 400 meters below the summit and promptly set up another bivy. After drinking for the first time in 36 hours, the team spent a restless night and woke up to tackle the remaining difficulties. A final rock band gave way to the last leads through snice and Tawoche’s summit. They began rappelling that afternoon and reached base camp safely the next day, January 16. They graded South Central Buttress ED VI 5.10 M4/5.
The ascent comes on the heels of Direct North Face (VI AI5 R, 1500m), another new line on Tawoche established by Fumitaka Ichimura and Genki Narumi in late November.
Success on South Central Buttress may be particularly meaningful for Ozturk, who attempted a direct finish to Tawoche’s Southeast Pillar (Knapp-Schlonvogt, 1990) with Seth Hobby in 2007. Difficult rock and poor weather turned them back. For details on that climb and a short history of Tawoche, read the June 22, 2007 NewsWire.
Ozturk and Richards are still in the region, working at the Khumbu Climbing School, which teaches technical skills and high-altitude safety to local Sherpas. The climbers also released video updates about their climb via satellite from base camp and Namche Bazaar. Five dispatches are available at verticalcarnival.blogspot.com.
Dehydrated, Ozturk and Richards established Camp II at 6100m, the first point they encountered snow. This image was captured from the team’s fifth video dispatch.