Friday, September 16, 2011

Serkhe Khollu Rematch

Yesterday, Robert and I returned to Serkhe Khollu to once again try a new ice route on the southwest face of the 18,200' peak.  Here is how the last attempt ended:

He picked me up at 4 am and we overcame the first crux, driving to the trailhead. We start hiking just after sunrise before the moon sets:

Serkhe Khollu looks a little sinister with the weather unsettled in the early morning light:
The clouds started pouring in around us:
Revealing fresh snow from the day before:
More snow on the way:
Robert making his way upward:
The world's highest trout lake, according to the locals:
Getting close to the snow line:
Climbing the first few hundred meters on steepening snow:
Finishing the snow approach:

Robert leads the first pitch, a classic ice gully:
Somewhat higher, Robert handles the crux:
Less stress on easier ground:
The second to last pitch with heavier snow falling:
I'm starting the last pitch:

Robert is excited to reach the end of the route:
Here I am at the last belay:
Happy to finish:
Given the thunder and snow, we did not walk the last few hundred feet to the summit:
On the descent:

We get a little sun:
Our new route (IV, WI4, 350 meters) follows the obvious ice gully from right to left and back right at the top to finish. Robert is visible as a blue dot below the start:
On the way past the lake:

The cacti appreciate the moisture from the snow:

After a long walk, we return to the car 11 hours after we left it:
Pacha brava growing on black rock:

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