Lakpa-Ri Expedition (7043m)
The most climable 7,000m peak in the world
Lhakpa Ri is an ideal objective, remarkably positioned just across the glacier from Everest. It shares the historic route up the East Rongbuk Glacier and is climbable by a relatively safe and straightforward route. It is just over the milestone altitude of 7,000m, making it higher than anything outside Asia and is probably the most climbable 7,000m peak in the world.
The mountain is one of several peaks that line the east flank of the East Rongbuk Glacier. The summit is a prominent three-sided pyramid which drops to the East Rongbuk Glacier to the west, the Kharta Glacier to the east and falls steeply to a tributary glacier of the Kangshung to the south. The slopes from the Rongbuk an Kharta Glaciers are relatively low angled and are linked by the Lhakpa La pass (6,849m), which is just to the north of Lhakpa Ri. It was from this pass, in 1922, that Mallory and his team mates first saw the East Rongbuk Glacier, an event well documented in mountaineering annals.
Lhakpa Ri is a superb objective which should appeal to climbers looking for a 7,000m summit in a famous location. The visit to Lhasa, the overland journey across the Tibetan Plateau, the trek in the footsteps of Mallory and a climb with awesome views of Everest, are the ingredients of a very special expedition. It will also give a life-long impression of Tibet and its people and an insight and deep respect for the achievements of the early Everest pioneers.
Climbing Lhakpa Ri involves a similar itinerary to the initial phase of an expedition to the North Ridge of Everest. From Kathmandu, we fly to Lhasa and spend several days in what was the "Forbidden City". Then there is an incredible journey through Tibet, along the Friendship Highway before turning south to the Rongbuk Valley below Everest. We spend time acclimatising at base camp before making the two-day hike to advance base camp (ABC), at about 6,300m.
The ascent follows a shallow, snow-filled depression on the southwest flank, ascending low-angled snow for 600m, which steepens at mid-height to around 30-35°. After gaining the crest of the ridge close to the Lhakpa La, we turn south and follow the snow ridge to the summit.
After returning to base camp, we complete the remainder of the Friendship Highway, driving along the northern side of the Himalaya range, again with views of Everest, Cho Oyu and numerous other peaks. The road eventually descends to the Friendship Bridge, where we cross into Nepal and continue to Kathmandu.