“Climbing Lhakpa Ri was a special experience…” – Jürg Merz
A visibly elated Jürg Merz , climber from Switzerland who recently summitted Lhakpa Ri, shared his experience with Explore Himalaya on 31st May. As this was Jürg’s first Himalayan experience , he seemed doubly pleased to have visited and added the ‘first’ Himalayan peak to his list of mountains climbed.
Jürg ( in yellow ) with Robert and Sange Sherpa
Lhakpa Ri (Xang Dong Feng), standing at an elevation of 7,045 meters, divides the upper East Rongbuk glacier and upper Kharta glacier. It lies in proximity to Mt Everest with Nyonno Ri range in eastern Tibet, the north faces of Chomolonzo, Makalu and Pethangtse, Shartse, Kangshung (east) face of Everest, east face of Lhotse, the north east ridge of Everest, the North Col, Changtse, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma serving as stunning backdrops. The ascent is made via the Everest Advance Base Camp.
Jürg Merz (Switzerland) and Robert Paul Mooney (Ireland), supported by Sange Sherpa (sirdar) and Kami Sherpa started their ascent from Everest base camp to on 15th May 2009. On 24th May , with good weather on their side the climbers finally reached the summit of Lhakpa Ri (7045m).
EH: Tell us about your ascent?
JM: The climb was beautiful. We had been very lucky with the weather because May 24th was an unusually beautiful day. The whole morning we had beautiful weather and it was good. We started at 6:30am and reached the summit at around 1:30pm.After we summitted the mountain , the weather turned bad. The view of Everest disappeared completely and it started snowing. It took us more time to return to ABC. It started snowing heavily while we were making our descent which made it a bit difficult for us.There were many crevasses on the way and we had to be very careful. The falling snow covered the crevasses and we had to be extra careful not to step on them.But we reached safely with the help of the sherpas .
EH: How many peaks have you climbed so far?
JM: I have climbed many peaks in Switzerland and New Zealand, but Lhakpa Ri is my first Himalayan peak.The highest peak that I had climbed before Lhakpa Ri was a 4,500metre peak in Switzerland. So climbing Lhakpa Ri was a special experience for me . This was my first time in the Himalayas and I had a successful climb!
EH: Did you face any problems during your journey, while in Tibet?
JM: We did not face any problems at all. Everything was well organized and went smoothly.Outr trip to Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse helped us in acclimating to the high altitude. We did not face any major problems or suffered from illness or sicknesses. Except for the weather worsening on our descent, we faced no problems at all.
EH: Any suggestions for climbers keen on climbing Lhakpa Ri?
JM: I advise them to get prepared .You need to be fit. With the support of good climbing sherpas and good weather, climbing Lhakpa Ri is possible.
EH: Explore Himalaya organized the logistics for your expedition. What do you have to say about it?
JM: It was very well organized.Everything turned out perfect. The communication with Explore Himalaya was very good. All the payment was safe.I am very pleased with my first Himalayan experience, thanks to Explore Himalaya. The climbing sherpas were very professional and looked after us quite well.We did not face any problems whatsoever.
EH: How do you find Nepal?
JM: This is my first visit to Nepal and I want to say this is not going to be my last!