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Canada-Based Alpinists Climb Epic New Route in Himalayas

They said their experience in the Canadian Rockies helped on the first ascent of the 900-metre northwest face of Kangchung Nup

Japanese alpinists and climbing guides Takeshi Tani and Toshiyuki Yamada, who are based primarily in the Canadian Rockies, have just made the first ascent of a huge northwest face in the Himalayas.

Located in the Khumbu region of Nepal, east of the Gokyo Glacier and in view of Mount Everest, their new route climbs an ice/rock mixed line up Kangchung Nup (6,089 m).

The northwest face of Kangchung Nup, a 900-metre ED1.  Photo Tani/Yamada 

Tani said the route felt like a long alpine climb in the Canadian Rockies. “I found similar terrain to Canadian Rockies’ ice and rock in terms of quality,” he said. Some parts of the climb didn’t protect well, but “pins were great protection.” The range is composed of sedimentary rock, similar to that in the Rockies.

“If my goal was climbing in Patagonia, I would’ve lived Squamish, but I love ice climbing and mixed climbing with choss,” said Tani. “So, Nepal is the perfect place to climb.”

He credits his training with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and the Canadian Avalanche Association for selecting the line with the least overhead hazard. “We didn’t finish Paul Ramsden’s line, which is in the middle of the north face,” he said. “The ice wasn’t connected this spring, but it would be amazing climbing in fall.” Tani and Yamada said they’re searching for next year’s objective.

In 2019, the British team of Paul Ramsden and Jim Hall made attempts on Kangchung Shar and Kangchung Sup, but failed to reach a summit. The north face of Kangchung Sar was climbed in 2021, read about the first ascent here.

Kangcho Nup was first climbed in 1953 and the north face was tried in 2014 by a Czech team who climbed to 5,900 metres. Read about the attempt in the American Alpine Journal here.

In fall 2020, Tani and Yamada established Ichinen WI5+R M4 on Storm Creek Headwall, and in 2015 they repeated the bold Rockies climb The Wild Thing, read about it here. The Japanese Alpine Club supported Tani and Yamada’s trip to Nepal with a $2,400 grant.