In 1976, legendary climbers Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker made the first ascent of West Wall on Changabang (6,880 m) in the Himalayas. After 46 years and a lot of attempts it’s been repeated.
Boardman and Tasker’s ascent was considered the hardest high altitude alpine climb in the world at the time, and hadn’t been repeated despite over 20 expeditions attempting it. Changabang had not seen a successful ascent in over 26 years.
This week, New Zealander Alpine Team climbers Matthew Scholes, Kim Ladiges and Daniel Joll made the second ascent of the West Wall. Boardman and Tasker summited after 25 days of effort. Boardman’s account of the ascent, The Shining Mountain, won the 1979 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for literature.
In a review of The Shining Mountain, late author David Roberts said, “The west wall is another proposition altogether. A 5000-foot precipice so sustained that Boardman and Tasker had to resort to semihanging bivouacs, it demanded from the men both extremely ‘necky’ climbing in severe cold and a grim dedication of purpose over a full month alone together. They chose to fix ropes continuously to a point near the summit. It is clear, however, that an alpine-style attempt would have failed early, and that the peculiar hazards of the fixed-rope assault bred an oppressive psychology of its own.”
More information to come about this historical ascent. Be sure to follow the New Zealand Alpine Team on Facebook for more photos and info.