First ascent of Beding Go (6,125 m, 20,095 ft), Rolwaling region, Nepal
I have been lucky to climb and work with a great group of Sherpas from the Nepal. These include Furtemba Sherpas and Naren Shahi Thakuri. Beding Go was one of the 104 new peaks that were opened for climbing in Nepal in 2014. Following an unsuccessful attempt in 2014 with Furtemba Sherpa, we planned to try again in October 2015, this time with a larger team of clients and Sherpas.
The devastating earthquakes in 2015 made the provision of help and assistance for the country crucial. Besides raising money, we felt that a climbing trip would be a great way to help the people of Rolwaling and bring business to the area. For this climb, we brought 6 team members, 5 climbing Sherpas, 5 kitchen staff, and 30 porters. This ensured work for some of the people of Rolwaling. We also wanted to get a solar project off the ground so that the people in the valley would have electricity for their homes.
The trek to Beding village took four days. Everyone was enjoying the remoteness of Rolwaling. However, as we got closer to Beding, we were shocked to see the damage caused by the earthquake. Houses and a new school in Furtemba’s home village had been totally destroyed. Other houses had huge cracks in the walls and were unsafe to live in.
We were welcomed with jugs of the local drink Chang as well as many scarves. The people of the village were so appreciative of all the money that was raised to help them and they were happy to have a team of climbers back in their valley. We acclimatized in Beding for a day or two and while there, opened the solar project for the village. The people of Beding were very excited about the project knowing that they now had electricity for their homes. We had our Puja ceremony in the monastery which was also in need of much repair. The next day we started making our way towards Beding Go.
Finding the route
Our base camp was at approximately 4,900 m below the south face of Beding Go. It was the perfect spot for our camp, sheltered from the wind, flat, and safe from rock fall or avalanches. We spent a couple of days at this spot, acclimatizing, doing some rope training, checking gear, and generally preparing for summit push.
The Sherpas checked the route and spent two days putting in anchors and fixing rope up the south face of the mountain.
On the third day at base camp, the Sherpas said we were going to leave for the summit at approximately 2.30am. They told us that the glacier and mountain were in good condition. All the team seemed to be in good shape and were excited to be going for the summit.
Steep South Face
We made our way up a steep rock scramble to the start of the glacier. As we were walking on the glacier, we could hear rocks thumping down and landing on the glacier but it was too dark to see.
We made good ground and got to the start of the 600 m technical south face of Beding Go just as the sun was coming up. The views were amazing but we could also see the hard mixed climbing we had to do before getting up onto the ridge. We climbed a very steep gully of snow and ice to get to the rock part of the face. Once on the rock we found it very loose making it difficult to find any handholds of footholds. It was also very challenging to place good anchors and protection. As we were traversing a section near the start of the of the rock face, there was a lot of rock fall. I was in the middle of the traverse when a few rocks came crashing down but luckily most of them missed me apart from one that hit my shoulder and bag. I was thinking if this is the start of the mountain, what it is going to be like up higher up. Thankfully nobody got injured by the falling rocks.
The climbing was tough with lots of steep ice, rock and snow along with some tricky traverses. We were moving quickly to get up onto the ridge. To reach the top of the face and onto the ridge we had to climb a steep slab of snow and ice which seemed like it was going to fall at any stage. Once on the ridge we could see the six pillars ahead of us that we had to climb to make the summit. Two of our lead Sherpas went ahead of our group, to try and fix some rope and put in good anchors on the last few pillars of the summit ridge
One foot in Nepal and the other in Tibet
Just before we got onto the ridge, some of the team began to struggle a bit. It is a very narrow ridge and was going to be tough to climb. There were huge drops into Tibet on the right and Nepal on the left. The falling loose rock was also a huge problem. We took a rest at the top of the south face. While we were resting, it became obvious that Stein Arve had altitude sickness. He had to get down as soon as possible and was brought down safely to Base camp by one of our Sherpas team.
The first three rock pillars turned out to be more difficult than we expected especially with so much loose rock falling. The big drops on either side the narrow summit ridge were frightening. When we climbed the third rock pillar, we decided to take a rest. Two of our team members were exhausted and decided that it was time to get off the mountain. Dean Carriere, Dino Carmargo and myself decided we would keep going along with two Sherpas.
There were three pillars left and we thought we could climb them in three hours. After more traverses and climbing up and down the rock pillars, the summit was getting closer. The lead Sherpas were near the last pillar and doing a great job putting in the fixed line.
A historical summit
As we got closer to the final summit rock pillar, it was clear that this was going to be the hardest. The angle of the rock was jutting out with lots of loose rock falling to either side. As myself and Dean got to the last section, Tsering Sherpa was standing on the summit with the Nepalese flag. A Himalayan first ascent! I was so happy for the Sherpas to have made the summit and be part of their expedition. Now all we had to do was try and climb up there to join them.
To climb the last summit pillar, I had to use all the energy I had in the tank. We had been on the go for nearly 12 hours at this stage and it had been tough climbing all the way. There was a lot of exposure on either side of the pillar. As I started climbing up one section of it, I tried to move out to the left on the Nepal side but a big rock fell from underneath my feet. Then I moved back to the center of the pillar. As I climbed a bit higher and came to an over-hang with not many foot or handholds, I got stuck for a few minutes. Holding on with my arms and trying to move my feet higher, was proving difficult. The rope was slack and I couldn’t move the jumar up without letting go of my arms. My arms started to shake. I let go one arm to try and tighten the rope. Next minute I fell and swung onto the right side of the pillar with a huge drop below me into Tibet. Thankfully I got back onto the rock and was able to tighten the rope and move the jumar a bit higher and begin to climb again. Only for Tsering and the other Sherpas who did a great job with the anchors and fixing the rope, it might have been a very different story! I climbed the last part of the summit pillar without any problems. A few rocks fell on either side beneath my feet. Then a bit of a scramble and I was on the narrow summit with Dean, Tsering, Pasang, Nima and soon after Mingma and Dino followed.
We had left base camp at 2.30am and now after 12 gruelling hours we were on the summit with views of Everest, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam and other incredible peaks. As it was getting late, we knew we could only spend a short time on the summit. We needed to get off the ridge before dark. The winds were picking up and it would get very cold. We slowly made our way down the south face of Beding Go, abseiling, traversing and arm wrapping.
Once we reached the bottom of the ropes, we still had to make our way across the glacier. It was so good to see some of our kitchen staff at crampon point with hot juice and water. It was midnight at this stage and at 1.30am we reached base camp. It was a huge relief to know that all the team had made it back safely and were resting at camp.
The next day we packed up our base camp and made our way back to Beding. There were great celebrations with all the locals in the monastery that night. The following day we started our trek back down the valley of Rolwaling and headed towards Kathmandu. It was a great honor to climb Beding Go with the Sherpa team and I am very lucky to be working with the amazing team at World Sherpas. Thank you Furtemba, Tsering and the rest of the team and clients for an unforgettable experience.
Location of Climb or Expedition
Nepal, Rolwāling Himāl, Beding Go 27º57’N 86º20’E
Date of Summit push
21 October 2015
Dates of Trip/Expedition
11th-31st October 2015
Routes or Climbs Completed
Beding Go (6,125 m, 20,095 ft) South Face, South Eastern Ridge
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