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New Route on Pumori: “Le Voyage de Petit Prince” (AI 4 M6)

A beautiful looking line on a classic peak.

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Photo: Courtesy of Teofil Vlad.

Three Romanian climbers—Zsolt Torok, Teo Vlad and Romeo Popa—have completed a new route on southeast face of Pumori (7,161 meters), Nepal. Their four day ascent of the new line, which they named Le Voyage de Petit Prince (AI 4 M6), is a new high watermark for Romanian mountaineering in the Greater Ranges.

Pumori is one of the more popular peaks in the Everest region, with hundreds of individuals having summited over the years, but, as with its bigger neighbors, it still holds plenty of unclimbed lines of the highest quality and difficulty.

Opening a new route on Pumori was Torok’s idea; he had tried the eventual line of ascent in 2017 with Vlad Capusan, but failed due to a significant number of avalanches0—typical for the spring period. So this year, with Vlad and Popa in tow, Torok decided autumn offered a higher chance for success.

[Also Read 9 Dead On Gurja Himal, Worst Climbing Accident In Nepal Since 2015 Everest Avalanche]

The team established advanced base camp at the bottom of the southeast face. Two rocky sections constituted the cruxes of the climb:  one mixed stretch in the center of the wall, and a rock ramp on the upper sector. The trio benefited from good weather conditions, with solid ice wrapping the wall from bottom to top.

One of the route’s crux sections. Photos: Courtesy of Teofil Vlad.

The first two bivouacs were set on narrow ledges, where they spent the nights with their legs hanging over the void below. The last two nights were spent in better conditions, with more capacious bivy ledges. Their summit day brought terrible wind of 100 km/h, but they persevered and tagged the top.

Their descent consisted of dozens of abseils down the west ridge down to reach Gorak Shep glacier.

Prior to Pumori, all three team members had cut their teeth in the Alps. Torok has climbed a multitude of classics in the Alps, as well as Nanga Parbat via the Schell Route on the Rupal Face. Prior to this year’s Pumori attempt, Vlad and Torok had climbed several other notable alpine routes together, such as Central Pillar of Freney and Civetta North Face. Popa is an accomplished  ice climber with a solid list of European peaks to his name.

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