Thursday the 5th October 2017 at 1205pm Northern Irish climber Noel Hanna and sherpa’s Naga Dorje /Pemba Tshering /Samden Bhote made the 1st ascent of the technical peak “Burke Khang” 6942 mts which borders Nepal and Tibet. There had been numerous attempts to summit this peak in previous years with out any success.
Hanna arrived at Burke Khang base camp on 26th September which had been already set up by sherpa’s and porters from Asian trekking at 5400mts on the Gaunara glacier. After 1 rest day at basecamp Hanna and the sherpa’s made a carry of ropes (2500mts) tents and pickets to camp 1 which already had the ropes fixed to and returned back to basecamp the same day.
On 30th September expedition leader and who the mountain is named after Bill Burke along with fellow climber Micah Kershner and film personnel Alex and Jeff arrived at basecamp coming from Gokyo.
1st October see’s Hanna / Kershner and the 3 sherpa’s head back up the mountain to camp 1 negotiating the extremely dangerous couloir dodging numerous rocks and ice raining down on them. Their objective to prepare the route / fix ropes and establish higher camps.
The team were forced to stay put at camp 1 on the 2nd October as bad weather with wind / snow and zero visibility made it impossible to move up the mountain. 3rd October saw the return of good weather so Hanna and the team moved above camp 1 to establish the route and fix ropes to camp 2 at 6600mts negotiating open crevasses and razor sharp ridges before returning back to camp 1 where Kershner was resting.
While Hanna and the team were working higher on the mountain Burke was making his climb up the mountain to camp 1.
The whole team Burke /Hanna / Kershner and + sherpas were all now at camp 1 preparing for their next assault of the mountain.
Weather forecast received via sat fone on the morning of the 4th October was not the news that the team wanted to hear – the weather was changing – the forecast now was reading only 2 good day before strong winds and heavy snow was due from the 6th for 4 days.
After a discussion between the team it was agreed that Hanna /Kershner and 3 sherpas would move up the mountain immediately and establish camp 2 and the following day try and push as high up the mountain as possible. Burke would move up to camp 2 the following day.
After a long day with carrying 1000mts ropes /pickets / tents the team had arrived and set up camp 2. Above camp 2 there was a very wide crevasse with only 1 snow bridge to cross it. Sherpa Bhote belayed Hanna out and successfully crossed and fixed an anchor which left the route good for the next morning.
After a cold night at camp 2 6600mts Hanna and the 3 sherpas left at 0600 on route to the steep head wall some 300mts away. Hanna and the 3 sherpas worked together as a perfect team and were soon on the summit ridge but were met with 2-3 feet deep snow. After traversing the ridge and climbing 80 degree slopes and climbing around cornices the team reached the high point on the mountain only to realize that it was a false summit and that they still had another 100mts of deep snow to trek through to get to the true summit.
Finally at 1205pm having worked as a team Hanna and the sherpas reached the summit together where they celebrated with a bottle of Moet champagne.
After photos / video and Hanna leaving ashes belonging to his 2 German Sheperd dogs on the summit the team started their route back down of the mountain.
When Bill heard the news of a successful summit he returned back down to camp 1.
As the weather deteriorated the team made their way back down to camp 2 and continued on down to camp1 and base camp.
After 1 day back at basecamp the team helicoptered out to Lukla and onto Kathmandu where they all celebrated a very successful expedition.