Climbing into record books
'Great result' for Kiwi mountaineersDANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Oamaru's Nick Shearer is looking forward to getting home after conquering the unknown.
Mr Shearer is part of a New Zealand expedition that recently scaled a previously unclimbed peak, Syao Kang, near the remote village of Yangma in the Kangchenjunga region of north-eastern Nepal.
A group of five climbers reached the summit of the more than 6000-metre-high mountain on October 25, from a high camp that was established below an ice fall.
"I think we are all pretty pleased with ourselves," Mr Shearer says of the team's efforts.
Dunedin's John Cocks, Auckland's Martin Hunter and Wellington's Geoffroy Lamarche and Paul Maxim made up the team that reached the summit, with the expedition led by Wellington's John Nankervis, who did not scale the summit.
Mr Shearer, currently in Kathmandu, says it was an achievement just getting close to the top of Syao Kang, after a poor year for climbing in terms of weather conditions.
"It's been very cold and very few mountaineering expeditions have achieved their objective."
The group had to gain permission from the Nepalese Government to climb the peak, one of two the expedition planned to tackle.
However, an attempt on their second objective was abandoned due to technical difficulties and challenging weather conditions at about 6000m.
"We had to do a few ministerial duties getting our equipment sorted and then meet with the sherpas and so on."
Mr Shearer says more than 30 people carried climbing gear to a 5300m-high base camp at Syao Kang, a trek that took about nine days.
While human power was used for the bulk of the journey, yaks were used in the latter part of the trek.
Mr Shearer, an experienced climber who is secretary of the North Otago section of the New Zealand Alpine Club, says the group enjoyed their time in Nepal and were welcomed by the locals.
"The people here are incredibly friendly - they have been really good at helping us and making us feel at home.
"There was a big festival of light and the whole place was lit up: it was amazing."
The group is due to return to New Zealand on Saturday, with Mr Shearer arriving back in Oamaru on Sunday.
Mr Shearer's wife Dara, herself an experienced climber, says her husband was well aware of the risks involved, but was not worried about anything going wrong.
"It's probably the sixth or seventh expedition he's been on, so I'm used to it."
Mr Shearer thanked his family for their support, as well as the New Zealand Alpine Club, who provided financial support for the expedition.
New Zealand Alpine Club president Stu Gray says the group's achievement adds to New Zealand's already glowing mountaineering resume.
"This is a great result by a team of very experienced Kiwi mountaineers. This first ascent adds to the impressive history of achievement by New Zealand climbers in the high Himalayas."
- © Fairfax NZ News