Slovenian mountaineers open new climbing route in Nepal

Kathmandu – A pair of Slovenian mountaineers have succeeded in making the first ascent on a new 1700m route on the north-west face of Mount Chobutse (6680 m) in Nepal, which they named Slovenian Direct, the Slovenian Mountaineering Association has reported.

The top Slovenian climbing team of Luka Stražar and Nejc Marčič, along with Marko Prezelj and Matija Volontar, succeeded in making a first ascent on a new route on mount Chobutse (sometimes spelled Chobuje or Tsoboje) in Nepal between 28 and 30 October, reports the ExplorersWeb portal.

The climbers split into two roped teams: Stražar and Marčič successfully went for the west face, while Prezelj and Volontar gave the south face a try, but with less luck – strong winds eventually forced them back.

The route is a combination of technical difficulty and high altitude climbing, while the wind and cold made the experience truly Himalayan, wrote the Slovenian Mountaineering Association (PZS).

“The 1700-metre route is characterised by challenging and exposed climbing in the central part, while the ascent was marked by low temperatures and strong winds with avalanches. The climbers descended down the west side and reached base camp just before departure,” the PZS added.

Stražar and Marčič rated the new Slovenian Direct route ED (Extremely hard – the second-highest level of the French scale), M5 (mixed climbing difficulty) and AI5 (Alpine Ice).

Four previous expeditions had climbed Mount Chobutse in the remote Himalayan region of Rolwaling in Nepal, with the first one being a German expedition in 1972, while Slovenian mountaineers now made the first ascent via the north-west face.

Stražar, Marčič and Prezelj are among the most renowned high-altitude alpine-style experts nowadays, writes the ExplorersWeb portal. They hold a total of seven Piolets d’Or among them.

Stražar and Marčič received one in 2012 for climbing the north-east face of K7 West (6615 m) in Pakistan in 2011, while Stražar received another in 2019 together with Aleš Česen and Tom Livingstone for a first ascent on the north face of Latok 1.

The Rolwaling 2021 expedition, also co-financed by the PZS, is expected to return to Slovenia at the end of the week.