After more than a month away on expedition in Nepal, with the original intention of attempting the unclimbed South Pillar of Kyashar (6770 m), Nick Bullock has returned to Kathmandu with the route left awaiting a first ascent. For Nick's climbing partner, Andy Houseman, who'd previously tasted failure on this mountain last autumn, coming away empty-handed is likely to be just as bitter this time around.
But is empty-handed the wrong way of looking at the outcome? It's no surprise that the disappointment, commitment and broken dreams meant Nick Bullock was clearly in a reflective mood writing-up his initial post-expedition impressions on his blog. The extract below has been taken from it but it's well worth spending a few minutes heading over to nickbullock-climber.co.uk to read the whole account.
"But the style of the climbing, be it successful or a failure, the style is the most important aspect. Is it a failure if what you are searching for is experience and growth, not just a summit? What a climber needs (or is that wants?) to ask is: why go in the first place; what have I received; are these the returns I was seeking; is my attempt worthy of those who have tried before; have I acquitted myself well; have I given the hill a chance; am I strong enough and grown up enough to accept the outcome, whatever it may be; is the style I have chosen worthy of the line; does climbing this line say something about me; am I appreciating an environment and landscape so few people experience?"
Essentially, regular afternoon snow meant the South Pillar wasn't an option and the pair turned to the West Ridge - a striking line, and only climbed once before, with the technical crux, a crumbling 150 metre rock pillar, in the lower half of the route.
Here all they found was unconsolidated snow lying over loose rock and despite getting past the technical difficulties with 1600 metres of vertical ascent behind them, thigh-deep snow clearly meant their lightweight planned two-day push was going to take far longer than that to make the summit and back. Abseiling and retracing their steps was the only option.