Holecek, Groh Begin Ascent of Baruntse

Marek Holecek and Radoslav Groh have launched their pure alpine-style climb on 7,100m Baruntse’s Northwest Face.

The weather did not begin as clear as they expected. “[It] was playing with us after we left BC in the afternoon,” Holecek wrote yesterday. “We made a decision, and during a small snowfall, Rada and I [huddled] between cracks in the ice, under ominously hanging, house-sized seracs.”

Baruntse’s Northwest Face. Photo: Marek Holecek


The pair had some tense times crossing the icefall. Eventually, they camped on a snow plateau above the icefall, right by the face that they started climbing yesterday morning. “We have a great desire to fight for the result, but also a lot of worries, and lightly pissed in our pants.”

Geographically, it will be interesting to learn exactly where the Czech climbers open their new line. According to Richard Salisbury of the Himalayan Database, the face shown in Holecek’s pictures is not the Northwest Face, but the WSW Face.

Also, the Base Camp from which they took their pictures “is the normal BC for Baruntse SE Ridge attempts via the West Col,” Salisbury told ExplorersWeb. “Holecek’s proposed route appears to be the WSW Face, not the NW face, which is on the other side of the mountain (in the shadows).”

Baruntse and surrounding peaks, seen from Ama Dablam. Annotations by Richard Salisbury. Photo: Ryszard Pawlowski

Baruntse’s location. Map: Schneider Khumbu Himal

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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11 months ago

Hi Angela,
I just did quick research on the Marek Holecek FB page:
on 12th May they published photos of the SW Baruntse face from normal BC, but on 14th May they wrote that they crossed/climbed over the Amphu Labtsa pass which lead to the north side of the Baruntse. After that they didn’t publish any new photos so they must be at the NNW / NW face now, otherwise there will be no point to go over that pass.