It seems incredible that in the day and age of Google Maps and “we can see the front door of any house in the world”, there are still peaks in the Himalayas that have not been trekked on by man or even been catalogued and baptized.
Two glaciologists, University of the Basque Country professor Ibai Rico, and an American PhD student at Cambridge, Evan Miles, have managed to trek on one of those peaks in the Nepalese Himalaya. They were there as part of a scientific expedition made up of researchers from the United Kingdom, the United States, Austria, the Basque Country, and Switzerland, and they had a double objective, glaciology and alpinism.
The first of these was all about studying the Lirung and Lantang glaciers for a research project for the Scot Polar Institute in the UK and ETH Zurich University in Switzerland. The goal of this research is to better understand the processes associated with glacier retreat in the Himalayas, with special attention paid to the glacial fronts covered in rocks and their response to climate change.
The second goal was alpinism, when the two young scientists blazed a new trail to an unnamed peak, at an elevation of no less than 20,315 ft (6,192m), in the area of the Kimshung glacier.
They came back from this trip with the joy of knowing they were the first to reach that peak (or within a few meters), though Evan Miles suffered 3-4th degree frostbite in one of his toes, for which he’s getting specialized treatment in the UK and is recovering rapidly.
We’re left wondering what the name of this peak is going to be, because we imagine that since they were the first to conquer it, they’ll get the right to name it. For now, we know that they’ve called the trail they blazed the Burning Kharkas trail.
We’ve added two videos about this ascent.
This ascent has been recognized with the 2015 FEDME Award in Extra-European Alpinism.
The BMC – 21/12/2014 – Gran Bretaña
Glaciologists Burning Kharkas on unnamed Nepalese peak
Cambridge University research student Evan Miles, with Ibai Rico from Spain, has recently climbed a previously virgin line on an unnamed peak in the Langtang Himal of Nepal, the pair stopped from reaching the summit by 80-100m of loose rock. Miles and Rico acclimatized by climbing Ganchempo (6,387m) via the south ridge (PD/PD+) from the valley of Nyangtsa Chu to the west, as a prelude to attempting other objectives nearby. However, deep unconsolidated snow, left by typhoon Hudhud the previous month (the same storm that caused havoc and many fatalities in the Annapurna region) brought on a change of plan and a move north across the main Langtang Valley to the Kimshung Glacier.