Manamcho (6264m), Nyainqentanglha East, Tibet, from the north. Mick Fowler and Paul Ramsden made the first ascent of the peak, via the northwest (righthand) ridge (TD, 700 vertical meters) at the end of April. Fowler’s teammates attempted Manamcho on a previous expedition in 2005, but bad weather forced a retreat from 5880 meters. [Photo] Mick Fowler
In October and November of 2005 Mick Fowler, Chris Watts, Phil Amos and Adam Thomas traveled to Tibet’s Nyainqentanglha East range to attempt unclimbed–and mostly unknown–peaks in the region (see Tamotsu Nakamura’s February 2007 Climbing Life photo essay and the April 10 NewsWire for a taste of the area). While Fowler and Watts succeeded on Kajaqiao (6447m), Amos and Thomas reached 5880 meters on the northwest ridge of nearby Manamcho (Issue 15‘s Climbing Notes document both teams’ efforts). Fowler, who found Manamcho (6264m) even more striking than Kajaqiao and likened it to a remote Matterhorn, returned this April with Paul Ramsden, who had never been to the region, to find higher ground on the northwest ridge.
After traveling two days from Lhasa to Lhari (on a 200 kilometer dirt track) and on to the small hamlet of Tatse, the pair moved south to set up base camp (4800m) on April 12. A week later Fowler and Ramsden began their climb. Amid heavy snow and distracted by exploratory side-adventures they ascended 700 vertical meters over eight days. Fowler compares the climbing difficulty to that on Kajaqiao (approximately TD). “The climbing was classic icy, north face terrain,” Fowler said, and once on the ridge, the (mostly) Grade IV snow-plastered rock required some trickery, including a skyhook move. The summit tower proved to have the most difficult climbing. They returned to the bergschrund on April 26 and left base camp two days later.
From April 27-30, Steve Burns and Ian Cartwright made a nearby first ascent on Point 5935m. They reported that the climb went at AD and provided magnificent views of the surrounding area.
Eastern Tibet’s gems, at least those we know about, are starting to get attention thanks to Tamotsu Nakamura’s expeditions, Fowler said. “[Nakamura] has opened up a veritable gold mine of unclimbed peaks–and there are many more still to be discovered.” Manamcho is the fourth 6000-meter peak climbed in Nyainqentanglha East; dozens more await ascents.
Some of the 6000-meter peaks and glaciers of Nyainqentanglha East, Eastern Tibet. Manamcho (6264m) is circled in red; it is only the fourth 6000-meter peak that has been summited in this section of the range. [Map] Tamotsu Nakamura