Earlier this week, amidst a fierce storm that compelled them to bivouac near the summit for a third time, Marek Holecek and Matej Bernat successfully reached the peak of Sura Peak, towering at an elevation of 6,764 meters. Their objective was to conquer the daunting 1,300-meter Northwest Wall.
Sura Peak lies south of Everest and east of Ama Dablam, in Nepal’s Himalaya.
The news of their accomplishment surfaced on Tuesday, following their safe descent to Base Camp, prompting Holecek to share a few reflections on their daring adventure.
After enduring a challenging night in an inadequate bivouac site perpetually battered by spindrift, the climbers encountered the most arduous sections on Monday. They triumphed over a rocky barrier that traversed the face of the peak, subsequently confronting steep ice pitches leading to the summit. It was at this point that the weather deteriorated, unleashing a raging storm.
Fortune smiled upon them, however. “Just 150 meters below the summit, a serac and an almost imperceptible cave came into view,” Holecek recounted. The crevasse provided a cold yet remarkably favorable bivouac spot at 6,500 meters.
The climbers persevered and conquered the final meters to stand atop the highest point of Sura Peak.
“Joy? I can hardly describe the sentiment in that way,” Holecek reflected. “We are exhausted, frozen, and face the daunting prospect of a brutal descent.”
Nevertheless, the summit also unveiled breathtaking vistas of neighboring peaks such as Chamlang, Ama Dablam, Baruntse, as well as Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Pumori, as vividly recalled by Holecek.
The descent demanded 11 hours from the pair. Once safely ensconced in Base Camp, Holecek was able to fully appreciate the beauty of their new route. In his words, it was “simply beautiful.”
Holecek acknowledged that Sura Peak had witnessed a previous ascent, but it is likely that there have been more. Many of these ascents would have occurred without the necessary climbing permits before the mountain officially opened to foreigners in 2003.