Jannu ©Cornell/Marvell/Rousseau

Americans Alan Rousseau, Jakson Marvell and Matt Cornell have just completed one of the finest ascents ever made of Jannu (7710m, Nepal). The three Himalayan climbers reached the summit in alpine style in 6 days via a new route on the north face and an exit from the Babanov/Kofanov route on the north-west pillar. This is a major ascent, and the three climbers, who came back safe but with some frostbite, gave us the first details.

At 3,000 metres high, the North Face of Jannu (7,710 m) in Nepal has for decades been the dream or nightmare of the most committed and successful Himalayan climbers. The reasons? The sheer size, complexity and steepness of the face, as well as the 800-metre high overhanging wall blocking access to the summit. This infernal Headwall above 7,000 metres is a wall to be tamed by anyone who wants to climb the North Face of Jannu by a direct route, but it has always ended up repelling anyone who wanted to climb it in alpine style as part of a small team. Because it’s too high, too hard, too committed.

The direct north face of Jannu has been the subject of many fantasies, but few attempts – we’ll come back to that later – until now it has only been successfully tackled after a siege lasting more than 50 days by a Russian expedition in 2004.

The whole line followed by Cornell, Marvell and Rousseau ©Coll. Cornell/Marvell/Rousseau

The section in the Headwall, then