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Winter first ascents - Nepal

Nepal is not well known for its icefall climbing, which is why Kenton Cool and I headed up into the Rowaling Valley in search of new possibilities in 2013.

 
 Splashdown WI 6, Rowaling. Pitch 1. First ascent in 2013  Photo: Gresham collection

Splashdown WI 6, Rowaling. Pitch 1. First ascent in 2013

Photo: Gresham collection

Splashdown  WI 6 Rowaling Valley, Nepal, 2013

 

This was my first trip to Nepal and it was a rare treat to venture into this isolated region, which is so rarely visited by outsiders. We stayed in Bedouin, one of the highest villages on earth and headed out on short day excursions to pick off some of the tempting local icefalls. On the penultimate day, I spotted an unclimbed 2-pitch freestanding column and persuaded Kenton that we should give it a shot. All went to plan as we trekked up the valley the next morning until Kenton decided to take an involuntary ice bath in the river. As we rung out his wet socks and weighed up our options, the climb was looking unlikely, but then in customary heroic style, Kenton decided to press on and we narrowly completed the route before his feet froze solid. The quality of the ice climbing in Rowaling isn’t quite at the same level as other top global destinations, but it us undoubtedly worth visiting for the overall experience. 

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The second pitch of Splashdown follows a free-hanging ice pillar, which was not well bonded to the rock on the day we climbed it. However, some stealthy hooking paid dividends and we managed to sneak to the top without any major collapses. 

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Celebrations with Kenton Cool and the Lama of Bedouin after making the first ascent of Splashdown WI 6 in the Rowaling valley.