Himalaya Fall 2017: Details on First Ascent of Burke Khang and Elsewhere

Burke Khang summit

The news from the Himalaya keeps streaming in, even as the season chugs along at a bit slower pace. With the major commercial teams now gone for the year, the big mountains in Nepal are now seeing smaller teams achieving impressive summits. And while things have definitely quieted off, there is still plenty yet to come.

Yesterday we received more details on the recent first ascent of Nagpai Gosum, which had been the fourth highest unclimbed peak in the world. Today, we have more information on a pair of other first ascents, including Burke Khang, which we reported had been climbed last week for the very first time, albeit without its namesake – Bill Burke – reaching the top. Today, we have some more details on that ascent courtesy of The Himalayan Times.

Four members of a climbing team that was organized and supported by Asian Trekking, reached the summit on Thursday, October 5. That group consisted of Irish mountaineer Noel Hanna, along with Naga Dorje Sherpa, Pemba Tshering Sherpa and Samden Bhote.

Burke himself was part of the expedition but was unable to go up to the summit, instead electing to stay in Camp 1 while his teammates continued to the top of the 6942 meter (22,775 ft) peak. This was his fourth time on the mountain, having been turned back in the fall of 2015 and 2016, as well as the spring of this year, due to bad weather and heavy snow. The mountain was given its name back in 2014 to honor Burke’s efforts to promote tourism in Nepal.

Meanwhile, three Georgian climbers have put up the first ascent of Larkya Lha Main Peak. Archil Badriashvili, Giorgi Tepnadze, and Bakar Gelashvili reached the summit of the 6425 meter (21,079 ft) mountain at 10:12 AM local time on September 27, having climbed the South East Wall, which is reportedly a very long, icy, and technical route.

A few years back, the Nepali government made the description to open more than a hundred new mountains to climber with the hope that it would draw some away from the more overcrowded peaks like Everest. While those efforts don’t seem to have impacted the more popular 8000-meter mountains – Manaslu was incredibly crowded this fall – it does seem to have had the intended effect of luring more alpinists looking to claim a first ascent. Most of these mountains are well above 6000 and 7000 meters, so there are great challenges to be had. The first ascents we’ve seen over the past week or so are evident of that.

Congratulations to everyone on reaching a point on the Earth where no other human has ever stood.

Kraig Becker