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Japanese Quartet Bags Sichuan FA

News Flash: The following news flash is a preliminary report posted as a service to our readers. Alpinist will post a story in detail when more information becomes available.–Ed.

Japanese climbers Mitsuru Kato, Hiroshi Matsushima, Ken Sato and Chiharu Yoshimura recently made the first ascent of Xiaqiangla (5470m) in China’s Daxue Shan Range. The party completed the climb in 15 hours, camp-to-camp, and in alpine style.

The quartet attempted the ascent by two separate routes–one starting on the northeast face and the other on the north ridge. Kato and Yoshimura followed the north ridge, but descended from a fore-summit after running short on time. Matsushima and Sato climbed a couloir up the northeast face and then cut over to the north ridge by climbing a steep, mixed section to the summit. They then climbed down to meet Kato and Yoshimura and the foursome descended via the north ridge.

This attractive summit is one of the many peaks identified by veteran explorer Tamotsu Nakamura, who has long inspired alpinists with his stunning photography. Read more about Nakamura’s contributions to the climbing community in the May 7, 2008 and June 9, 2010 Features.