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Simpson Solos Mera’s SW Face

Mera Peak (6470m), Nepalese Himalaya, as viewed from the north. Joe Simpson reportedly soloed a new route on the southwest face earlier this autumn, over three days, and gave it the grade TD+/ED1 due to hazardous serac conditions. [Photo]

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Joe Simpson, the climber famous for his survival story Touching the Void, recently established a new route–solo–on the relatively steep southwest face of Mera Peak (6470m) in Nepal. The 1300-meter route took Simpson three days: a moderate rib of rock on Day 1, a headwall with difficulties up to UIAA IV-V (5.5-5.7) and some sketchy rappels into a serac-threatened 60-degree couloir on Day 2, and scrambling over crevasses, the upper icefield and a rock band on Day 3. Simpson descended via the Normal Route, a popular trekking objective to the northeast. He gives the solo mission an alpine rating of TD+/ED1.

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