The Italian guide Enrico Bonino climbed a tremendous amount of technical new ground in Nepal's Khumbu region during late autumn, but several fine lines were not completed, bringing into question, once again, the difference between 'new routes' and 'valiant attempts'.
After climbing Lobuche and attempting Ama Dablam with a client, then with his girl friend ascending the fine 6,169m Nireka close to the Cho La, he teamed with fellow guide Nicolas Meli, and another good friend Francesco Cantu, for a series of attempts in the Gokyo region.
Trekking towards the Renjo Pass from Lungdhen Village in the Bhote Kosi, the three noticed a fine unclimbed North West Face on a peak referred to as Hama Yomjuna (5,970m), north of Teningbo.
Climbing from the 20th-22nd November, they overcame five pitches from F5a to M6, a further 300+m of snow and mixed, and then 12 pitches in the upper couloir at F4 to M7 with some bold ice pitches up to 5+.
After 1,100m of climbing the three arrived beneath an overhanging rock barrier 100m below the summit. Unfortunately, at this point one of the climbers dropped a rucksack. As a night out without bivouac gear was deemed unrealistic, the team abandoned the route and rappelled the face.
In 2008, with Stefano della Gasperina, Bonino attempted a gully on the flanks of Pt 5,850m, right of Dawa Peak and approached from the east side of the Renjo Pass. He returned on the 1st December with Meli and completed the line, reaching a small notch on the summit ridge just as the sun was setting, and then rappelling the route through the night.
The 600m line was named M'han dato 5 al Modulo di Misto and had difficulties of WI 6, M7 and A2. The two proposed the name Khanchaha for the small summit just above their high point.
The third climb took place from the 10th-11th December, when Bonino and Meli made a spirited attempt on the summit of Kyajo Ri (6,187m) via the North East Face.
A previous attempt to climb an icefall directly through the lower serac barrier, failed when an axe broke. On the second try the Italians avoided the serac by following the rock buttress to the right at 6b with a little A1.
Crossing the hanging glacier, they climbed the upper face, with one section reminiscent of the Ginat on Les Droites, to exit onto the (as far as is known) unclimbed North Ridge, 120m below the summit.
At this point it was getting late, and they were short on gear for rappel anchors, so they decided to call it a day and descend. The upper face had presented difficulties of M6+, WI 5+ and A2.
In a time of changing ethics, the Italians have given all three ascents route names. Most climbers still feel that in the high mountains a new route needs to reach a logical conclusion, whether that be, for example, the top of a wall, or a junction with an existing line. Many hold onto the ideal that in the Himalaya, the logical conclusion is still the summit.
In the photograph Bonino and Meli climbed the rock buttress right of the icefall below the hanging snowfield, crossed the big snowfield left and climbed the face to exit onto the right skyline some distance below the summit. The left skyline - South East Ridge - was climbed to the summit in 2005 by Seth Hobby and John Kear.