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New Alpine Route on Tengi Ragi Tau in Nepal

The first ascent was eight years in the making

Tino Villanueva and Alan Rousseau have recently climbed Tengi Ragi Tau (6,938m) in Nepal via a new route. Over five days, the two Americans made the first ascent of the west face in alpine-style. In 2018, they made the first ascent of Rungofarka (6,495m)in the Indian Himalayas.

They first attempted the route in 2014, but bailed less than 400 metres from the summit. After nearly a decade of planning for their second attempt, they reached the summit on Oct. 16. Roussea said after their climb, “Thoughts while walking today: Contentment is the enemy and happiness is the impetus for regression… Anyone who has talked to me about training or personal climbing progression candidly over the years has heard me say some variation of this.

“Today on the walk to Namche, I found myself on the verge of falling off the precipice into psych satiation. I was thinking that in 2019 I had completed my initial Alaskan goal of a new line on the east face of mount Dickey. And my initial Himalayan Goal (just days ago) an ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau. Both of these goals were hatched over eight years ago. Fortunately my mind soon drifted to larger more formidable mountain faces, repeating harder routes, and the places climbing could take me I hadn’t even contemplated as possible yet.”

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A few days ago @rousseaualan and I extended this line to the summit of Tengi Ragi Tau. It was the culmination of more than 8 years of planning, effort and 3 expeditions to the Himalayan peak. This mountain is a beast, with no easy way up or down, which is probably the reason the only previous recorded ascent was 17 years ago in full siege style. We climbed and descended the nearly 7000 meter mountain over 5 days and, for now, we are making our way home but will soon be sharing stories from the first alpine style ascent of #TengiRagiTau #trt · I must thank the companies, grant funds, @americanalpine club and of course our friends and family that have supported our expeditions over the years. We are eternally grateful. · @cilogear_official @libmtn @beal.official @scarpana @summitsalesnw @patagonia

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The route follows 1,600 metres of alpine terrain up to M5+ WI5 and topped out on a snowy and cold summit. “My internal dialogue quickly dropped out of euphoria into reality,” said Rousseau. “I looked at my altitude atrophied forearms and began to craft what would need to happen to accomplish spring 2020 goals.

“I will say completing the first ascent of the west face left me feeling more destroyed than any other mountain foray has to date, and might even deserve a few hours of contentment.” The first ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau was in 2012 by a Japanese expedition led by Koichi Ezaki up the southeast face.

You can read Rousseau’s story about their 2014 attempt in the American Alpine Journal here, in which he said, “We had been planning this trip for two years, and the face had become something of an obsession; it was hard to turn away after climbing more than 1,500m. In a little over eight hours, about 25 60m rappels brought us down to the base of the wall. Our anchors of slung blocks, Abalakovs, and stoppers had been of varying quality. Once again the Rolwaling had served up exciting objectives, valuable learning experiences, as well as a big old slice of humble pie.”