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HIUNCHULI
(6,331m/20,771ft)

Hiunchuli is the eastern bastion with its East Face overlooking the Modi Khola, guarding the entrance to the Annapurna Sanctuary. An impressive mountain in its own right, and not, as it was at one time dubbed, ‘the eastern outlier of Annapurna South’. Despite the relative ease of access to the mountain and the popularity, rightly so, of the Sanctuary as a trekking destination, it has, like Fluted Peak, received little attention from mountaineers although it obviously offers major new route potential.

From the south, Hiunchuli has few weaknesses in its defences. A precipitous south wall rises above the untracked Chomrong Khola, seemingly menaced by snow avalanches from the slabby, ice – veined buttresses above.

From the north the mountain rises steeply above the moraines of the Annapurna South Glacier in a series of slabby buttresses and an ill defined and complicated North Ridge. These in turn lead to a final triangle of fluted ice that form the summit.

The summit is bounded on the east by a ridge that rises in an icy parabola from a small col, from which a steep couloir descends toward the moraines above the lodges at base camp. This is a feasible looking route, and is as yet unclimbed.

The mountains western arm is the ridge connecting it with Annapurna South, and forming from the north an icy wall.


CLIMBING ROUTES
First ascent was via the South – East Face in October 1971, by an American Peace Corps Expedition led by Craig Anderson. The members were: L. Smith, J. Skow, P. Cross and J.Richards.

From Hinko Cave (3,014m/9,900ft), climb the hillside which is very steep to a base camp in grassy meadows (4,115m/ 13,500ft), below the south east face of the mountain. Form base camp cross below two glaciers in sight of the east face. There is potential ice fall danger from these glaciers. Climb a rock wall and sight Camp 1 on the glacier above (circa 4,724m/ 15,500ft).

From camp 1 cross the glacier running due east to a rock wall and climb this at its lowest point on good rock. In fact, it is possible to climb the rock wall by a couloir line (600ft) that splits it, running diagonally left to right. Near the top of the couloir, traverse left into shorter couloirs that are followed to the upper snow slope and the site of Camp 2.From Camp 2 cross a large snow basin that leads to the foot of a hanging glaciers and camp 3.


From Camp 3 climb up a narrow acalanche chute (be ware of danger) to the base of a hanging glacier. Traverse left under the hanging glacier to easier slopes above are climbed to the site of Camp 4 (6,069m/20,000ft), beneath a large crevasse.

In 1982 the route and the mountain had a second ascent that followed a variant from Camp 2. Between Camp 1 and Camp 2 they fixed approximately 820 meters (900ft) of rope. Camp 2 was on the hanging glacier (5,334m/17,500ft). then the way leads to the Camp 3, to the top of the ridge (5,700m/ 18,700ft), and the climb steep ice steps to the summit.

The mountain above is unseen at this point, the view is blocked by the gorge- like walls of the mountain that effectively help to form the ‘gate to the sanctuary’.

About one mile beyond the Hinku Cave en route to Bhaga, next to an obvious waterfall. The path made by hunters, leads to the upper meadows below the south – east face of Hiunchuli. This path is very steep and the way most unlikely, zig- zagging through the lower rock slabs! An advanced base camp was established at 4,267 meters (14000ft). the climb takes about five hours from Bhaga.

Now gain the gully and climb this for 200 meters (650 ft); this is fairly straightforward, although there is a difficult pitch near the top and some poor rock. At the top of the gully descend for one rope length into a hollow and climb a second icy gully for three rope lengths and gain a notch in the skyline ridge.

Climbing along the narrow ridge you will be able to climb on to the North Glacier above the icefall and establish a camp( 5,330m/ 17,487ft). this is the hidden and devious section route, and is full of interest.

A further camp can be made on a ledge in a crevasse at 5,700m. From the crevasse a steep climb diagonally leftwards, traversing under the seracs, leads to a long ice runnel, which is climbed, to an ice column.Above the serac, climb the summit ridge with one steep pitch which leads to a large crevasse, which is the final obstacle before the large flat summit.

NORTH – WEST FACE

An ascent was made by a steep ice couloir and ice buttress leading to the east ridge and by connecting to the south ridge it led to the summit. It was climbed solo by Japanese climber Masayuki Ando in 1984.

From the base camp at or around the lodges at Annapurna south base camp follow the moraines and gain the glacier below the North – west face of Hinchuli and the foot of a steep couloir leading toward the West Ridge.

From the ridge, rappel (250m/820ft) to a point where the south ridge can be gained. This is followed to the summit. Above is the couloir leading to the right side of the col, which is climbed easily at first but which steepens at the top to give a difficult ice pitch, after which it gets a col, astride a knife –edged ridge.
IMJA TSE (6,189M/20305FT)


Imja Tse is the new name given to the name Island Peak, which was given by Eric Shipton’s party who were on their way to explore the Barun Gorge in 1952.

The mountain was first climbed in 1953 by a very prestigious team in preparation for the ascent of Everest. They were Charles Evans, Alf Gregory, Charles Wylie and Tenzing Norgay with seven Sherpas who were trying out the newfangled oxygen sets; as practice, of course, for loftier things.

Seen from the moraines between Pheriche and Dingboche the mountain doesn’t look too impressive, dwarfed as it is by one of the largest mountain faces in the world; the south face of Lhotse. However, on close inspection it reveals itself to be an interesting and attractive summit with a highly glaciated West Face rising from the Lhotse Glacier. The mountain itself is really an extension of the South Ridge of Lhotse Shar and is separated from it by a small col. Above this gap, rising to the south, is a classically beautiful ridge leading to the summit of Imja Tse.

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