Anne Gilbert Chase made the first ascent of the southwest face of Mount Nilkantha with Jason Thompson and Chantel Astorga in the fall of 2017.

Gilbert Chase and Thompson had attempted the route in 2016 with Caro North. They had originally planned on attempting the unclimbed south face of Hathi Parbat in the Indian Himalaya, but their permit was denied.

They focused their efforts on the southeast ridge of the 6,596-metre Mount Nilkantha. The 2.7-kilometre ridge had been attempted six times between 1937 and 1992 and has seven pinnacles of 100-metre granite slabs.

After their attempt on the ridge, they turned their attention to the southwest face, which Marko Prezelj had wanted to try in 2001, but conditions kept him grounded.

Gilbert Chase wrote here after, “Conditions were not easy due to the dry season. With lots of loose rock and no ice, the climbing was more demanding than we had originally thought.

“There was a lot of tattered fixed ropes left behind from the 2007 Calcutta expedition, which we did not use… Around 4 p.m. and at 6,400 metres on the summit ridge after 13 hours of climbing, a strong storm came in producing grapple and snow, as well as static electricity.

“With all three of us feeling the electrical shocks in our bodies from the storm we knew that continuing to the summit was not an option. We began our long decent back down the west ridge, reaching our bivy around 5 a.m.”

Gilbert Chase started rock climbing in college and has climbed in many of the Great Ranges. She calls Bozeman, Montana, home and works as a registered nurse at the local hospital.

She has a number of impressive climbs to her name, including a free Ascent of Jaded Lady VI 5.12a on Mount Hooker and the second female ascent of Winter Dance IV WI6+ M8 in Hyalite Canyon.

Gripped editor Brandon Pullan touched base with Gilbert Chase at Ouray Ice Park in January 2018.

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