Skip to content
Home » Climbing Notes » CHOMO LONZO


Yannick Graziani on the traverse from the Central (7540m) to the North (7199m) summit of Chomo Lonzo, Nepal Himalaya. The French expedition managed the first ascent of the North Summit via two new routes, as well as the first traverse from the North Summit to the previously unclimbed Central Summit. [Photo] Patrick Wagnon

Located in the Kangshung Valley and separated from Makalu by
Sakietang-La, Chomo Lonzo has three different summits. In 1954 Lionel
Terrary and Jean Couzy made the first ascent of the South Summit (7790m)
from Nepal, and in 1993 a Japanese party made a second ascent from
Tibet, following a dangerous line under seracs. Neither the Central
Summit (7540m) nor the North Summit (7199m) had any ascents before our
expedition. On March 30, expedition members Stephane Benoist,
Yann Bonneville, Aymeric Clouet, Patrick Glairon-Rappaz, Yannick
Graziani, Christophe Moulin, Christian Trommsdorff and Patrick Wagnon
departed from France. Our concept was for three independent parties to
climb in pure alpine style (no fixed ropes, no permanent high altitude

On April 13 the team set up base camp; from April 14 to 24, they
acclimatized and did reconnaissance on the northeast and west faces of
the mountain. The northeast face seemed challenging but risky, with much
snow and threatening seracs. On April 25 Benoist and Glairon-Rappaz made
an ascent of Chago (6850m) from the north.

After setting up an advanced base camp on the West Chomo Lonzo Glacier,
Yann Bonneville, Aymeric Clouet and Christophe Moulin made an attempt on
the west face of the North Summit on May 4-5. Strong winds and snow
stopped them at 6500 meters. From May 4-7, Graziani, Trommsdorff and
Wagnon achieved the first ascent of the North Summit, via the Northwest
Ridge (TD: M5). Benoist and Glairon-Rappaz accomplished the first ascent
of the North Summit’s west face (ED: M6 85 degrees) from May 13-16. They
found the climb to be as difficult as the route they established on the
north face of Thalay Sagar two years ago, but at a higher altitude. On
May 15 Bonneville, Aymeric and Clouet attempted the northwest ridge.
Finally, May 15 through May 21, Graziani, Trommsdorff and Wagnon
traversed from the North Summit to the Central Summit, making the first
ascent of the latter, unclimbed, peak, via its north ridge (ED). This
group experienced poor conditions with strong winds.

As far as I know, very few parties have climbed such difficult pitches
at such high altitudes without fixed ropes. The traverse could be easily
compared to Voytek Kurtyka and Robert Schauer’s ascent of the West Face
of Gasherbrum IV or to Christophe Profit and Pierre Beghin’s ascent of
K2. The team managed difficult routes in high-pressure situations–in
short, it was real modern alpinism!

Jean-Claude Marmier, Chamonix, France