, Marek Holeček, Matěj Bernat complete big new route on Sura Peak in Nepal

24/05/2023 22:48

Marek Holeček, Matěj Bernat complete big new route on Sura Peak in Nepal
Marek Holeček and Matěj Bernát have completed a big new climb on the NW Face of Sura Peak (6764m) in Nepal. The route is called Simply Beautiful and was established alpine style by the Czech mountaineers.
After Chamlang in 2020 and Baruntse in 2021, Marek Holeček has scored it big in Nepal once again with a testing new route on the NW Face of Sura Peak with Matěj Bernat. The two Czech mountaineers travelled to Nepal at the start of May and reached BC of this nigh 7000m peak in the Hongu Valley in mid May.
On arrival Holeček inspected the stunning 1300m high face and described it as follows "A beautiful and frosty spectacle in one. Steep ice cliffs rise from the glacier, resembling a folded skirt. In the second third, the wall is crossed by an overhanging rock threshold. This will be the key to the wall. Above it is a blue colored ice cap with a sweet top reward. But if we bite into it... who knows. The line to the ascent is absolutely clear, but it is scary. Three aerial bivouacs that will resemble a swallow's nest stuck to the wall and one on the descent ridge. That's the plan."
After waiting patiently for a weather window Holeček and Bernat began their ascent early on the 20th. Communicating via satellite phone, Holeček explained that their first day had been extremely cold and that they had battled hard against steep terrain before finding a bivy in the afternoon, below the rock barrier which represented the crux of the undertaking. The next day the pair confronted "hell on earth. From the bivouac it was quite a brisk ice climb up to the rock barrier. The trouble just started there. The rock was broken, crumbly, and it started to snow."
Dealing with difficult mixed terrain at altitude they somehow managed to get close to the end of the barrier by 15:00, but realised that another bivy would be necessary, despite their exposed position. "Simply the worst of the possible places we could have chosen." explained the two-times winner of the Piolets d'Or, adding " During heavy snowfall, we cut an ice shelf, from which our bottoms slide down into a kilometer-long hole under our feet. The only thing that always stops us is a screw drilled into the ice that holds our whole tent and inside us."
On the 22nd of May the pair finally breached the rock barrier and believed they would climb the final ice cliffs and that lead to the summit, but high winds and snowfall pinned them down, forcing them to make yet another bivy. Thankfully this proved better than the night before and, in high spirits after enduring three extremely tough days on the wall, Holeček wrote "150 meters below the top, a serac and a cave were barely visible. It was simply a miracle on that steep ice pitch. Today we will sleep like a king and tomorrow, weather permitting, we will go to the top and see the entire central Himalayas."
The next day the pair summoned all their forces and, fighting the thin air and knowing that the only way off the mountain was via the summit, they continued on to reach its highest point. Holecek explained poignantly "We are on the top of Sura peak. Joy? I would hardly describe the feeling like that. Such a smile with the corners of the mouth down. Actually, what did I expect? I know it well, tired, frozen and the vision of a brutal descent ahead us. Sure, the entire Himalayas in the palm of your hand. On the left is my love Chamlag, then Makalu, Baruntse, the black wall of Lhotce, behind it the azure Cho Oyu, also the Pumori pyramid, the popsicle Ama Dablam and to the south dozens of other peaks."
After the ritual summit photos they descended for 11 hours down the ridge to safely return to Base Camp. The new route up the NW Face has been called Simply Beautiful and it goes without saying that this is another major addition to technical, high altitude mountaineering.





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