By Mingma Sherpa
It took me 3 years to decide whether to go for solo attempt on Chobuje or not. Last year, I thought to try it without any official permit as it was our own domestic mountain but the weather changed and I had to cancel at the last moment. So finally this year, I set up my mind again and I made my attempt via west face which completely new route
Dorjee Sherpa Route on Mt Chobuje,In the memory of my father
Since the mountain is so close to my house, I was grew up seeing the mountain each day. Whenever I go back to my birth place, I see it so close and so attractive. Few climbing were made in earlier time but nobody made success via west face.
I got the climbing permit from Department Of Tourism, Nepal on 12th October 2015 and started to trek on 15th October. The trek to the base of our mountain is just 3 days from the capital city. I had good weather during the trekking and I climbed Mt Pharchamo (6187m) on 25th October with team from Austria, Slovenia and Italy. The next day I trek back to the village and prepared my gears for the solo climb. So on 27th October, I went to base camp with other 3 person so that they can take my pictures and videos. Unfortunately, my climbing went so high that it was not possible to shoot it by camera or drone.
1st Nepalese Solo Climbing 2015 permit
I made my plan to attempt on full moon day but one of the elderly person from the valley suggested to attempt on second day of full moon because it’s more visible till morning on second day of full moon night. It was full moon night on 27th and I made my plan for 28th October. The weather was so clear and visible during the night. I woke up at around 3 am and one of my colleagues prepared me a food while I was gearing up myself. I left the base camp at around 4 am with full preparation and in a hope to reach the summit earlier. It was difficult for me to find the way to reach the snow section. It took almost one and half hours to reach the snow. Once I touched the snow part, my hard times started. In the beginning I followed more on rocky section and was colder but was easier. further I climbed, it became more difficult for me to climb. It is complete steeply mountain without resting point. The ice was covered by two thin layers of snow which was good for ice tool but was not that good for crampons. This is the hardest mountains I ever climbed. The only thing in my mind was one mistake means my life. More I climb up, I felt more scared looking down.
At first I climbed more on the left part then traverse to the middle when I was closer to the ridge. It was very tiring day because I had to climb all the way without rest. I took hardly good rest at only two places where I cut ice and made place for myself. The last part to the ridge was the most difficult part on it. It was more steeply and very difficult way. After climbing for 13 hours continuously, I reached to the summit ridge. Reaching to the summit ridge was the most important moment for me because I felt safe reaching there. The summit was long ridge but very flat with too deep snow. The mountain look very steeply and very hard from west face but it is much easier and safer from south and north ridge. So reaching the summit I plan to descent from South East Ridge. But Once I reached the summit it started getting cloudy and became whiteout at once.
Chobuje summit on 28-10-2015 at 5pm
Taking few pictures on the summit, I crossed the summit ridge and start descending toward the back side but it got ttotal whiteout so I got confuse with my way. I could hardly see few things only. It was not a wise decision to move further in such a bad condition so I made snow hole and stayed there waiting for better weather. It was windy so my ice hole covered very quickly. Waiting and waiting, next day began. Whole the night I had to rub my body and waited for good weather. The weather remained same so I asked for helicopter rescue from that attitude early. The weather all over the Nepal was bad so helicopter rescue was no possible. At around 11am, it became little visible so I quickly started descend down. I rappelled down almost 120m and then again it covered completely. I fall down on a ice cliff while trying to descent so I felt not safe to descent further in such bad weather so I traverse almost 10m meter where I made my home for next night. While trying to traverse, I was almost washed away by slab avalanche. I waited whole the day for good weather but it didn’t happen. I stayed in a same place whole the day and night with nothing and doing nothing. The night was threatening cold and windy. I had very hard time to spend a night. I kept on watching my watch. At around 3-4am, the weather was very clear and I felt it would be good weather but it started getting cloudy again early morning.
I didn’t have hope for helicopter rescue on that day too. The helicopter was kept on standby and I have brother and friends who are there for rescuing me. I was strong enough to deal with the situation if the weather was clear but the weather remained same and whiteout all the day. At around 7am the weather started getting little better in mountain but it was same in the valley. We were on contact in a radio so I spoke that the helicopter could reach to me. Within an hour the helicopter came to me but couldn’t pick up me so it flew back. I made small heliport near to me and the helicopter came back again and I entered the helicopter quickly then flew to the village. I had my mother, sister and friends waiting at home. Once we landed at the door, all came to me crying which I felt not good because it was my fault of going solo on such difficult mountain.
Start of our Plan
I made my plan together with my other 3 brothers from same valley in the first week of September to spread the message that Nepal is safe to climb and Trek. We all belong to Rolwaling valley so we made our target in Rolwaling valley. Since after the Earthquake in April and May, the number of tourist in Nepal is very less and it is decreasing but tourism is our main source of income. It was not enough for us to send message only writing on medias so our plan to spread message with action. Also we took a step so that Nepalese climbers can step forward in future days. Nepalese climbers are now getting internationally recognized trainings and skills but still they are very backward compared to other nations. So we believe that our climbing may bring some changes and our friends will make more recognizable climbing and records in future.