First ascent of Chamlang’s North Face : a masterful new line by French Charles Dubouloz and Benjamin Védrines

Chamlang ©Dubouloz-Védrines

Benjamin Védrines and Charles Dubouloz can be pleased with their route. The two Frenchmen took just four days to climb the north face of Chamlang (7,319 m) and descend its west ridge. Their seamless, alpine style ascent of a magnificent new line on this sought-after peak, which Védrines had already climbed via its north-east face, is a superb achievement. Speaking by telephone from Kathmandu, Charles Dubouloz describes what was undoubtedly one of the most elegant ascents in the Himalayas this year.

He may not have seen a single cloud throughout the expedition, but Charles Dubouloz, now back in Kathmandu, is on cloud nine. And not only because he has realised his dream of climbing in the Himalaya. During a short trip lasting barely a month, he and Benjamin Védrines have produced one of the year’s best routes, climbed alpine style, that is, without fixed ropes or logistical support. This is the story of two mountaineers who travel light, buoyed by their immense motivation — unquestionably the most important quality for anyone hoping to climb a north face at 7,000 metres in the Himalayas. But motivation alone is not always enough. Here, it was a combination of mental strength, exceptional fitness and luck with the conditions that enabled Dubouloz and Védrines to realise their dream on Chamlang, a popular peak this year.

Back at the foot of Chamlang. Védrines on the left, Dubouloz on the right. Their route is to the right of his left hand. ©Dubouloz-Védrines

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