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Peak 41 (a.k.a. “Real Mera Peak,” 6654m), with the route of first ascent indicated [Photo] Urban Golob

Four expeditions (Japanese, Finnish-American, Scottish and Finnish) had tried unsuccessfully to climb Peak 41 (6654m). In the middle of October our Slovenian expedition of six climbers made the first ascent.

After acclimatizing on Mera Peak, Ales Kovac and Bostjan Jezovsek found a reasonable approach (40-70 degrees, 500m) to the great plateau below the west face of Peak 41 by climbing rock slabs and a snow gully left of a difficult and dangerous icefall. The next morning they started their ascent of the west face, but retreated to base camp after 150 meters of climbing due to bad weather. After a week of the same, Matic Jost (expedition leader), Uros Samec and I set out from base camp and reached the great plateau. The next morning, October 15, we started our ascent at 3 a.m. Very soft snow forced us to climb near rock for good belays. The bad conditions, steeper-than-expected terrain (60-80 degrees) on the upper part of the wall and cold, windy weather meant we needed nineteen hours of continuous climbing to reach a small col north of the summit, where we made a bivouac at 6500 meters. The next morning, in continued cold, wind and terrible snow conditions, we reached the exposed ridge (50-65 degrees) above the west face in an hour and a half, which we followed to the summit. Several abseils and extensive down climbing brought us to our tents on the plateau below the face. We gave the 1500-meter route a grade of TD+ 55-80 degrees.

Editor’s Note: In 2000, research by the Finnish climber Petri Kaipiainen revealed that the Nepal Mountaineering Association had, for twenty-two years, issued up to 1,000 permits annually for the popular trekking peak Mera Peak. According to the map coordinates cited by the NMA for the peak, the permits were in fact for Peak 41.

— Urban Golob, Slovakia