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PISANG PEAK AND THE CHULUS

PISANG PEAK

This peak is made up of steeply tilted rock, the dip slope of which faces the valley and is well seen in this peak and great rock slabs further down the valley. The peak has a lot of scope for western flank, which is guarded by a hanging glacier, would appear to offer a considerable challenges, whilst a traverse of the whole summit ridge which connects to a more northern summit before curving back west looks a superb possibility. Access to the western end of the ridge, however, looks problematical as the ridge is guarded by huge rock slabs, a feature in this side of the valley.


THE CLIMB
SOUTH – WEST FACE AND RIDGE

The first ascent was made by solo by J. Wellenkamp in 1955 during a German expedition to Annapurna. This same expedition also made an ascent of Chulu East.

Step forward from the upper Pisang Village through sparse wood and pastures to a Kharka at 4,380 meters (14,370 feet). This provides a good site for base camp.

Following a ridge and climbing to a shoulder on the South – west Ridge (5,400m/17,716ft) provides a suitable site for high camp. A well- defined ridge leads to the final snow slope that leads quite steeply although without difficulty to the summit.

THE CHULUS

The eastern limit of these peaks run south from Chako and Peak 6,687 in a north to south direction along the Hunglung Khola, Nar Khola and Phu Khola. To the south it is bounded by the Marsyangdi Khola and the Mesokanta La. To the west its limit is the Kali Gandaki and to the North the Parchekya La (5,447m/17,870ft).

There exists considerable confusion with regard to the name and location of the Chulu peaks and what summit actually constitutes Chulu West and Chulu East, since it soon becomes apparent to anyone that has climbed in the range that several other summits close by, which are actually part of the Chulu massif, are not indicated on present maps of the area. There are four summits that can be included in the Chulu group in which two are possible on the permit for Chulu West and two on the Chulu East permit.

The trekking map can be misleading, the highest of these peaks, marked Chulu West (6,630m/21,752ft) on the trekking maps, has a recorded altitude from at least two expedition of nearer 6,400m (20,997 ft); this might more accurately be called Chulu Central. The NMA gives this an official altitude of 6,429 meters (21,060 feet).

South East of this highest summit is a lower peak that can rightly be termed Chulu East. Most of the trekking maps give this an altitude of 6,200 meters (20,060 feet), although the official height is 6.584 metres (21,601 feet). However, continuing two miles east along the ridge is another peak, well seen from the airstrip at Ongre and separated from the East Peak by a col which is 5,608 meters (18,400 feet). This summit has an altitude nearer 6,059 metres (19,880 feet) and should really be termed Chulu East.

The first ascent of the central, and highest, peak appears to have been made by Rudolph Schietl, Levin O’Connell, Sonam Gyao Sherpa and Sonam Chottar Sherpa on 16 October 1981.

CHULU EAST (6,200M/ 20,341ft)

First ascent of the North – east ridge was by Dick Isherwood and John Noble, leading a Mountain Travel Climbing Group in May 1979. From high camp established in moraines at 5,334 meters (17,500 feet) climb towards the head of the Chegaji Khola below a col on the ridge separating Chulu East and the Far East summits.

Climb to the col (5,608m/18,400ft) and descend, crossing the glacier basin that descends from the Chulu East toward the Nar Khola. On the far side of the glacier ascend steep scree slopes to the North- East Ridge at 5,719 meters (19,000 feet). On the first ascent the high camp was established here.


CHULU FAR EAST
(6,059M/19,880ft)

From the camp in the moraines at 5,334 meters (17,500 feet) below the col separating the east and far East Peaks of Chulu, gain the col (5,608m/18,400ft). From the col follow the South- west ridge on snow and ice throughout to the summit.

CHULU WEST

Ascents of Chulu West and Chulu Central are best made from a base camp in a small valley north of Manang situated off the main trail to the Thorong La. Indeed some of the best views of these peaks can be had from that pass.

NORTH – WEST RIDGE

First ascent was on 4 November 1978 by Dr Larry Zaroff, Peter Lev, Ang Jambo Sherpa and Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa.

Walking beyond the hut following the yak pastures and walking up the ridge leads into a hidden valley where it is possible to find a good site for base. From this camp, ascend steep scree slopes to a col (4,900m/16,076ft), on a subsidiary ridge that leads down from the main ridge. To the north of the col-ascend snow slopes for 200 meters to the base of a band of rock at an altitude of 5,100 meters and the site for a possible high camp.

The another camp can be established climbing the rock band with some difficulty to the north – west shoulder of Chulu west (5,450m/17,880ft).


CHULU CENTRAL

NORTH WEST FACE
First ascent was made by Rudoph Schietl, Kevin O’Connell, Sonam Gyao Sherpa and Sonam Chottar Sherpa.
From the same base camp ascend to the col (4,900m/16,076ft). climb snow slopes to the north of the col to the base of a rock band (5,100m/16,732ft), where a camp is possible.
From this camp, traverse on to the Chulu Glacier basin to the east of the ridge and ascend the broad glacier slopes, avoiding serac obstacle. The slopes are not too steep but it might be problem with soft snow progress.

Continue to the central summit which is now well seen, crowned by a definite pinnacle. Continue towards this slopes on steepening snow until it is possible to gain the crest of the summit ridge, which may be corniced.

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

The most obvious is the impressive South face seen as you follow the trail from Manang to Thorong Phedi. This will undoubtedly, one day, yield routes of considerable difficulty and interest.

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