Nirekha peak from S (lake basecamp)

Nirekha Peak 6169m

A great summit in the heart of the Khumbu. The peak is located in the same chain as the Lobuche summits, just E of the Cho La Col (not to be confused with the famous Cho La pass that is only a few hundred meters away). The peak is in the list of the new 'A' trekking peaks, for which currently (2006) a peak fee of $500 has to be paid. The normal ascent to the Nirekha Peak is a great and - depending on the conditions - difficult climb. Only experienced climbers should attempt this route, though it is partially saved with fixed ropes. The summit consists of two summit pyramids. It is unclear which one is higher. Clearly the N summit is easier, but requires to cross a difficult crevasse, while the S summit requires one pitch in steep (50) ice.
The Kanchung BC is the preferable starting point, from the lake camp it is hardly doable in one day. Both ascents are scenically beautiful.

W ridge via Cho La Col

The ascent from the Kanchung side is to be preferred since it is easier and shorter. The glacier to the Cho La Col on the Kanchung side is easy with only a few mostly harmless crevasses. The ascent is mostly in ice and snow, and is comparable to big alpine routes such as the Monch (Nollen) or Bernina (Bianco-ridge). Despite of the relatively small height difference, it demands an excellent condition and acclimatization, since most of the difficult climbing parts are above 5820m. 

(alpine style)
8-9 hours from the Kanchung basecamp (variant a), 10-11h from the lake basecamp (variant b). In case of difficult conditions (ice, deep snow), more time is required.
a.) From the Kanchung BC 5250m, head towards N and follow a trail (cairns) up the steep scree slope. Before reaching its top, traverse to the right across some rock slabs (cairns), reaching flat territory just below the glacier. The glacier is mounted on the left (S) border. Follow the glacier on a marked trail (flags) until reaching the flat caldera just below the Cho La col (possible place for a high camp). The Cho La col (5650m) is reached over a short and step snow / ice slope (10m 45). Allow about 2h from the BC. This point should not be reached after sunrise.

b.) From the lake BC 5050m, head towards E to reach the top of the moraine. Here a trail can be seen that follows the moraine ridge (cairns). Follow it for about 40min. Then traverse the steep but short moraine slope,
reaching flat stony terrain. Now head towards N, always keeping on the left (W) side until the glacier can be easily reached. The glacier consists of two crevasse zones, both of them can easily be traversed, provided good visibility. The steep zone in between can easily by by-passed on the left. The Cho La col is reached over a steep and cumbersome slope, consisting of scree, loose rock and snow. It is best climbed on the left side. Be aware of rock fall, especially for the successors. A good place for a high-camp is just below the col. The col (5650m) should not be reached after sunrise.

Now follow the W-ridge that consists of snow and loose rock. A first serac can easily be by-passed on the right (S) side in snow and ice (35-40). Get up to the ridge again (5850m). Now follow the ridge that gets steeper. Depending on the ice situation, belaying is necessary. Some ice bars are already in place. After about 80m, the ridge gets again steeper. A good belay place is just below a short upswing of the ridge (put 2 ice screws). From here follow the ridge (ice, 50, exposed) for 50m, a good belay place is on top of the big serac. A different but less preferable way follows the fix rope (check the anchors!) to the left, however, it requires to get across a steep (60) ice wall.
From the belay place, jump across a crevasse to gain the big terrace. Just opposite this place rises a steep but not exposed snow or ice wall. Climb it (50m 45). Then follow the serac ridge that is steep and exposed for some meters. By-pass a large crevasse and climb a short ice slope. From this point the summit can already be seen. Walk towards S, gaining a ridge. At the end of the ridge, a short but very steep snow/ice wall (2m 90) eventually imposes problems. The next ice wall can be by-passed on the left (N) side. Now head towards the
highest point on the horizon. From this point, both summits can be seen.
To reach the N summit, descent and get carefully over two gaping crevasses. Be aware that at this point the snow will be already soft! Eventually install a good anchor and a fix rope to avoid being stuck on the summit. The summit itself is easily climbed on the N-side (5m 45, not exposed).
To reach the S summit, follow the ridge to the steep pyramid. The pyramid is climbed in one pitch of steep ice.
Time: 9h from Kanchung BC, 11h from the lake BC, 7h from the col.

Descent: same. The key passage is best negotiated by abseiling, bring some spare strings and tools to build an ice-'Sanduhr'.


1. Nirekha peak from W.

2. Key passage with ascents from Kanchung BC (a) and lake BC (b)

3. Summit plateau with the two summit pyramids.

4. View from Gokyo Ri towards Nirekha peak.