Anidesha Chuli is a stunning, and unclimbed, Himalayan mountain in the Kangchendzonga region of eastern Nepal, bordering both India and China.
In April/May 2014, New Zealand climbers Shelley and Paul Hersey and honorary Kiwi (Australian) John Price will attempt to ascend this technical peak, also known as White Wave, via the remote Ramtang Glacier and a combination of the mountain's North East Face and East Ridge. After a period of acclimatising and route finding, the actual ascent from base camp and return (around 2000 vertical metres) will likely take 6-8 days.
If successful, this will be the highest unclimbed mountain ascended by a New Zealand led team for a number of years, and possibly the highest unclimbed mountain ever by a Kiwi woman. At 27, John could also possibly be the youngest Australian to be successful on an unclimbed mountain of this altitude.
A strong New Zealand team, led by Rob Frost, attempted Anidesha Chuli in 2013. Initially part of that team, Paul and Shelley were forced to withdraw after losing their home during the Canterbury earthquakes. During the 2013 attempt, one team member fell and was injured while on lead just below the East Ridge. He was evacuated from the mountain, and the rest of the team abandoned the climb. Rob and the other team members have been very supportive of Shelley, Paul and John's upcoming attempt, offering invaluable information and advice to help increase the chance of success this time.
The 2014 New Zealand Anidesha Chuli Expedition will be part of the ongoing Backyard And Beyond project started by Shelley and Paul, along with Jamie Vinton-Boot and Troy Mattingley, in 2010. The success of the team's 2012 Southern Alps transalpine expedition, and the documentary One Fine Day On A Mountain, encouraged the team to consider a new challenge. One Fine Day On A Mountain won a Special Jury Award at the 2013 New Zealand Mountain Film Festival, and has been warmly received by audiences around the country. After Jamie's recent tragic death, Shelley and Paul feel a heightened responsibility towards continuing the BAB project.
Paul sees an attempt on Anidesha Chuli offering considerable logistical challenges. 'We're really appreciative of the support from Rob and the other guys,' he explains. 'Their efforts this year, while not successful, have provided a lot of vital information that, hopefully, we can take advantage of.'
The 2014 team will film the expedition to attempt Anidesha Chuli, with the plan of producing another documentary. 'After the success of our first film, this seems like a great way to communicate what adventure is all about, and hopefully we can inspire others to get out there,' Paul explains.
This will be the first time that any of the team members have climbed in Nepal. Paul, a full time writer, has previously been on successful expeditions to Pakistan, India and Kyrgyzstan and has completed numerous first ascents overseas and in New Zealand's Southern Alps. Shelley has mountain climbed in India and rock climbed in Thailand and Australia. She is considered one of this country's stronger all round female climbers, and has completed a number of challenging first ascents. John is part of the new generation of strong, young climbers. He is currently living and climbing in Banff, Canada, where he has recently accumulated over 70 days winter climbing on various Canadian Rockies test pieces up to grade WI6 and M8.