The following outlines our acclimatization schedule, climbing equipment and clothing used for an ascent of the North Face of Cholatse. You can find a video of the ascent here
For more information on the new route climbed on the South West Pillar of Lobouche also as part of this expedition click HERE
12 ice screws , various sizes but with two stubby screws
Single set of cams, green C3 - #2 Camalot
Single set of wires #1 – 7
4 x pins , 2 knife blades and two angles
2 x snow stakes per team. If you are climbing as a single 2 person team it might be worth taking 3 snow stakes depending on the condition of the face. We had four stakes between two teams and on the lower face most belays were made using snow stakes. We also used them for runners.
Clothing and bivy gear
We were climbing the face in late November. At this time of year the face basically receives zero sun. Temperatures are also fairly low in the shade. I would have guessed we were climbing in temperatures between -15 and -30 (with wind chill) most of the time. It would be worth basing any clothing system you take on the fact you will likely be climbing in very cold conditions. The face also acts as a funnel for any snow fall or wind blown snow. Most places on the route would be fairly dangerous if it starts to snow or if wind is transporting spindrift around the face.
Single Skin Tent
Quilt – Down winter version prototype Macpac product
Socks x 2
Gloves x 2 plus one pair of fleece liners
Macpac Pro thermal Top and leggings
One piece fleece
Julbo glasses and googles
Waterproof prototype bibs Macpac
We took two new Macpac jackets the new Pulsar Plus which will come into stores in 2018 and a high spec version of the Arrowsmith.
Macpac Hightail Jacket
Macpac Pisa Jacket
2 x Ice axes
High altitude boots either Scarpa 6000 or La Sportiva Spantik
Aim for no more then two nights in Katmandu at start of trip. Take multiple passport photos and copies of passport for buying a sim card, getting climbing permits and your entry visa. Visa 100 usd. Tip for porter taking kitchen gear up to base camp 6000 rmb ,60usd. Suggested tip for cook and climbing guide 100usd each. 75usd for main porters. For the whole trip. Most of the villages have Everest Wifi which is handy for getting updated weather forecasts, you can buy the prepaid cards for this in the tea houses. If you are buying a sim card in Katmandu it will work in some places but not all of the villages we stayed in on this trip.
Our approach to the mountain ( Day by Day )
Day one 2600m very short day. 2.5 hours. If coming from alps just walk straight to Namche if you fly in early. Approx 6-7 hours total walk if doing this. Day two 3500m Namche. Day 3 walk to 3880 Everest view lodge Day 4 Pangboche 3900. Day five Dingboche 4200m with a hike to 4500m Day 6 Cholatse base camp.
Day 6. Dingboche to base camp. High point traversed 4800. 5 hours walk. Base camp 4680. Just below Dzlonga.
As an alternate to having a base camp in the valley like we did, you could stay at Zonglha, at 4800m on the ridge above the valley, in one of the tea houses there. Mountain home Zonglha is 600 per night for a king bed room. They will make discount for longer stay. Food budget 30 usd per person per day if staying in tea house this would include your hot drinks
Day 7. Hike to 5180m. Return to base camp. 3hrs. Day 8. Hike to Chola pass then small climb above pass to 5400m. Steve and Kim went higher approx 5600. 5hrs. Day 9 rest at base camp. Some debate if the rest day was needed but as we are on schedule no need to rush. Day 10 Lobouche high camp 5600m. 5 hrs from base camp. Day 11 6000m on Lobouche. Just below true east summit. Between 1.30-2hrs up. 35mins down. Return to base camp.
Day 12 rest Day 13 rest Day 14 Lobouche South West pillar. Climbed and walked for 15 hrs mostly rock climbing with a bivy at 5750m Day 15 Lobouche south pillar 15 hrs again up buttress along ridge to summit and traverse to regular route and back to base camp. 1100m vert. You can watch a video of the ascent here.
Day 15-17 rest.
Day 18 Up at 1am dep 2am base camp 4680. Climbed till 5900 above ice crux stopping around 945 pm. We used the ice hammock on the face to help enhance our bivy platform. Bed at midnight up at 330. Day 19 dep 630 climbed to ridge around 3pm. Bivy at 6280m Day 20 up around 330 dep 630 summit between 1130-12. Descent to Cholatse base camp 7pm ish Day 21 Cholatse base camp to Phortse 4-5 hrs walking. Day 22 rest Phortse 3800m.
Phortse has a bunch of sport climbing. Better to come here for 3 days than to stay at Namche multiple nights on the way up. Day 23 Prortse to Jorsalle with lunch in Namche. Around 4.5 hrs walking. Day 24 Jorsalle to Lukula Day 25 fly Kathmandu
Some tips for the walk in and the time in Kathmandu - Just before Phakding, a nice lodge to stay in is the new “Sherpa lodge” Porter cost 15-25 usd per day tip 4-5 usd per day. Great Tamal cafe / restaurant is Forest & Plate. Also Fire and Ice is a nice pizza cafe.