Romanian Duo Attempts New Route on Pumori SE Face

Zsolt Torok and Vlad Capusan are known for their independent expeditions on lower peaks. Last year they climbed Cholatse, Kyajo Ri and an unnamed virgin peak ‘Peak 5’ in Makalu region. Zsolt Torok was the leader of successful Nanga Parbat Schell route expedition in summer 2013. Their attempt to open a new route on Pumori’s Southeast Face has been thwarted by ongoing bad weather in the region. They had an eventful descent, after being pushed to retreat from 6800m.

Route (ascent in pink, retreat in green); All photos belong to Romanian expedition.

Here is team’s summit push debrief. (Thank you Mihai Si Furia Rosie for translation).

Romanian duo's attempt to open a new route on Pumori (7160m) Southeast Face has ended today 10th May with their return to the mountain's Base Camp, after 4 days of climbing in severe weather and a retreat that threatened their life, they report.

“We've had 4 days of harsh and continuous climbing and fighting with a mountain that pushed us to the edge of survival. We've endured strong winds, avalanches, very cold conditions and a few blizzards, all this was to fulfill our dream: opening a new route on Pumori's south-east face.”

“Yesterday, when we were supposed to start a summit bid, we were surprised by a horrible storm that basically destroyed our bivy first thing at dawn. There was a fresh powder avalanche that almost buried us alive, we were only left hanging from the wall in one <<friend>> belay. Then new snow showers started, with strong winds under a totally black sky.” It’s the weather that is keeping Nepal Southside teams restricted to Base Camp.

“After a sleepless night we tried to leave the face and go for the somewhat safer south ridge, looking for a better place to bivy. We climbed two nearly-impossible pitches and then when we reached a snow couloir to get to the ridge at about 6,800m Vlad was blown down by another avalanche – he was lucky to stop only ten meters below, being still belayed with mobile protections. We managed to relay with the remaining gear and then we evaluated the situation: it would have been a death-wish to continue... We were already exhausted and unfortunately the hardest decision to take was also the smartest. Then followed 900m of abseiling through a whiteout inferno, we now feel blessed to be alive.”

“Last year we managed to climb three difficult summits together in the Himalayas (Cholatse, Kyajo Ri, Peak5) but only now, after this great ordeal, we feel we are a strong team. We definitely gave this attempt our best shot, but the mountain rejected us this time. We will come back, though, because Pumori's 7160 meters will not get any higher next year(s), but we will grow and return stronger, for a second chance at our dream. A heartfelt thanks to everybody who believed in us!” The duo concludes.
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