Himalaya Fall 2017: First Ascent of Burke-Khang Complete

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We have one quick update from the Himalaya today, this time from Burke-Khang, the 6942-meter (22,775 ft) peak located in the Gokyo Valley. Named after American climber Bill Burke, the mountain has been the target of two previous expeditions to complete the first ascent, with Bill himself hoping to be amongst the first to summit the mountain that bares his name. Today we get word that it has been climbed at last, although Burke was not amongst those reaching the top. 

The team of climbers arrived in Base Camp on Burke-Khang last weekend after acclimatizing in valley. They had only just settled in on the mountain on Sept. 30 and there hadn’t been any word from the group since that time. Yesterday, an update was made to Bill’s blog with news of the first ascent. It shared two messages that the Burke family received from Dawa Sherpa that shared progress reports. The first text message read: 

“Hi Sharon. Just got word from Alex at Base Camp. Noel and 3 Sherpa’s heading for the summit today. Micah is at camp 2. Bill and 1 sherpa are at Camp 1 resting. Bill will not attempt to climb any higher. If summit team are successful today, they and Micah will descend to Camp 1 and the whole team will return to base camp tomorrow. Likely that they will all fly by chopper back to KTM on Saturday”

That was followed by a second text later. It shared the good news:

 “Congratulation! Noel, Naga, Pemba and Sonam summited Burke Khang at 12:05 Nepal time today on 5th October 2017. They are now coming down the mountain. Team have asked to be picked up at base camp on 7th October to be brought back to Kathmandu”

So there it is, the first successful climb of the mountain. Unfortunately, Bill himself couldn’t be one of the summiteers, but at least he was there to witness the event. This was his third time on the mountain, with the two previous attempts being cut short due to bad weather. But, as they say, third time is a charm.

Congratulations to the entire team on finally completing this expedition.

More new from the Himalaya as we receive updates.

Kraig Becker