Parkin solos Nepalese North Face UPDATED

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 04/02/2011
Rolwaling summits from the north. Joe Puryear

Due to a misinterpretation of information when writing the original version of this report, it was stated that Andy Parkin had climbed Singkar. In fact he climbed a mountain further north, of almost equal altitude, named Dingjung Ri.

A misunderstanding of detail, and the somewhat confusing nature of various maps to this region, led to the author mistakenly referring to the 6,249m peak by the name of Singkar, when in fact it is the watershed peak Dingjung Ri. The corrected report below replaces all previous versions

Andy Parkin has recently returned to Kathmandu, after making the first ascent, solo, of the North Face of Dingjung Ri (6,249). This may also be the first calendar winter ascent of the mountain.

Technically in the Rolwaling Himal, Dingjung Ri is situated west of a point midway up the Nangpa Valley (Bhote Kosi), which runs south from the Nangpa La to Thame.

It was first climbed, from the west, by Peter Boultbee and Dennis Davis during Alf Gregory's productive 1955 Merseyside Himalayan expedition. This three-man team was ostensibly reconnoitring Gaurishankar but climbed five or six other summits, including Parcharmo, Ramdung and Pimu.

Parkin set up base camp with a yak herder on alpine pastures above the Nangpa Valley. Dingjung Ri's northern flanks proved steep, rather like the Grandes Jorasses but with vertical rock walls. However, to the left a steep névé line runs up the face before curving back to the main summit.

After time spent in acclimatization, Parkin returned to his tent one afternoon to find clothing had been stolen. That night he was attacked: rocks, some of them as large as half a kilogram, were thrown through his tent. He scared off the assailant and later moved down to a yak herder's house, where he had no further problems.

A heavy fall of snow at the end of December had made moving around difficult, but once Parkin accessed the face, conditions improved. His line gave brilliant climbing up to 85°, and after two extremely cold and windy bivouacs, he was able to travel light to the summit - an amazing dollop of névé on pure ice that he reached on the 17th January.

He made it down through the night with frostnipped fingers to his lower bivouac site, where he had left a gas cylinder. Next day he reached the base of the mountain after a total of three and a half chilly days on the face. He then walked out to Namche after "one of the hardest trips I can remember".
 



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