After their first attempt in 2017 failed, Marek Holeček and his climbing partner, Zdeněk Hák, returned to the Himalayas in May this year for a second attempt to reach the summit of the 6186 meter high Kyajo Ri, climbing a new route. Despite unfavorable climbing conditions and the fact that Zdeněk Hák was hit by falling rocks, their first ascent of this new route they called “Lapse of Reason”, ended as a success. Marek summarized the events that took place between May 25 and 28, 2018.
[Text Marek Holeček]
It was a return to the unfinished work and ascent of 2017. Kyajo Ri (6186m) is located in the central Himalayas, under the Lunden settlement, along the Namche Bazar River, in the direction of Gokyo. The first part of the ascent leads through the western pyramid of the western wall, up to the ridge. Then follows the bivouac on a sharp edge of the ridge which extends to the eastern side. There, the line weaves in between rock sills and ice corners to the summit. However, the snow conditions this year were rather sad, and it became clear that we would have more problems climbing than the prior season. Since then, the ice and firn had disappeared, and we were facing only bare rock instead. I met up with my partner, Zdeněk Hák, at the foot of the wall after I had been trekking for three weeks. He had flown in a few days before my arrival and had used the time to acclimate.
"The ice and firn had disappeared, and we were facing only bare rock instead"
There was no time to lose as it was the end of the spring season and the weather was getting worse by the day. We made our first bivouac right under the wall and set out early the next morning. Climbing itself was more difficult and challenging than we imagined. Brittle rock and loose ice turned every pitch into a surprise and every meter into a struggle. Finally, after midday and seven hundred meters, we reached the ridge. Glistening sunlight bouncing off the rock greeted us. Zdeněk ended up taking a direct hit as we proceeded zigzagging along this shooting range. Fortunately, the only thing getting smashed was his helmet. In the evening, we set up our tent on a small plateau which we called Eagle’s Nest. The next morning, we rappelled thirty meters over the edge and continued our ascent. And again, each pitch was a struggle, often even more relentless than the day before. At this point, Zdeněk began to doubt the success of our ascent. So, I decided to put all my eggs in one basket. Without a valid attempt, there is no absolution – I tackled the next infinite pitches. Sporadically, protection was lacking entirely, while ice curtains and brittle rock alternated. The slope of the terrain still continued to increase.
"It seemed evident that another bivouac was inevitable, the question was where."
It seemed evident that another bivouac was inevitable, the question was where. But then, just before the worst case scenario materialized, the peak started to appear through the dense fog. We decided to take this offer and ended up reaching the summit with the sun already setting. Then, already at dusk, we descended three hundred meters to a location where we set up our comfortable bivouac for the night. The next day, we returned to the valley.
What: Kyajo Ri 6186m, Himalayas
Who: Marek Holeček and Zdeněk Hák
Difficulty: M6, WI 4+, 3+UIAA, ED+, 1600m Alpine style, ascent name “Lapse of Reason”
Pictures: Marek and Zdeněk