In the shadow of the towering Himalayas lies Tengi Ragi Tau, a formidable peak that straddles the boundary of Nepal’s Janakpur and Sagarmatha zones. Known for its challenging terrain and stunning vistas of Gauri Sankar, Everest, and Makalu, this 6,938-meter giant has long captivated the hearts of mountaineers worldwide. In a remarkable feat of skill and determination, Czech climbers Jakub Vlček and Marek Disman, along with their teammate Jan Kresinger, ventured into this formidable landscape.
Their mission: to carve a new path on Tengi Ragi Tau’s enigmatic West Face. Braving the unpredictable elements and the unknown, their ascent marks not just a triumph over the mountain but a significant milestone in the annals of Himalayan climbing.
Tengi Ragi Tau, also known as Angole, stands as a testament to the rugged beauty and challenge of the Rolwaling Himal, a lesser-trodden region of the Himalayas. The mountain, peaking at 6,938 meters, commands respect with its daunting terrain and rich history. It wasn’t until 2002 that the Nepalese government opened its slopes to climbers, ushering in a new era of exploration. This decision unveiled a playground for mountaineers, with Tengi Ragi Tau’s intricate routes offering a mix of technical challenges and breathtaking scenery.
The peak, nestled at the nexus of the Janakpur and Sagarmatha zones, serves as a natural vantage point, offering views of iconic summits like Gauri Sankar, Everest, and Makalu on clear days. Its southern flank is graced by the Tashi Lapcha pass, bridging the Drolambao Glacier to the vibrant mountain village of Namche Bazar. The presence of the nearby Parchamo peak and a secondary 6,650-meter eastern summit adds to the region’s allure, making it a magnet for adventurers seeking both beauty and challenge in the Himalayas.
The 2021 Attempt:
In 2021, the West Face of Tengi Ragi Tau became the canvas for a bold endeavour by Czech climbers Jan Kreisinger and Karel Roudnicky. Their quest to pioneer a new route on this daunting face was driven by ambition and the lure of the unclimbed. However, the mountain presented formidable challenges. As they ascended, the climbers were met with harsh weather conditions that tested their resolve and skill.
Despite their best efforts and two intense bivouacs braving the mountain’s wrath, they were compelled to retreat at about half-height. This retreat, while a setback, was a testament to the unpredictability and might of Tengi Ragi Tau, setting the stage for future endeavours and igniting a renewed determination in the hearts of mountaineers.
The 2023 Expedition:
In the autumn of 2023, a new chapter in the story of Tengi Ragi Tau was written by Czech climbers Jakub Vlček, Marek Disman, and Jan Kresinger. This trio, fueled by the unfinished business left by their predecessors in 2021, embarked on an expedition that would not only challenge their physical and mental limits but also honour the efforts of those who came before them.
Their journey to Nepal was marked by a meticulous planning phase, where every detail, from route selection to gear preparation, was carefully considered. In the heart of the Himalayas, they acclimatized to the thinning air, respecting the mountain’s demand for patience and preparation. This expedition was more than a climb; it was a tribute to the indomitable spirit of mountaineers and a testament to the enduring allure of Tengi Ragi Tau.
The pivotal ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau commenced on October 29, 2023, as Vlček and Disman, guided by their unwavering resolve, embarked on their journey up the West Face. The route, christened Honzova cesta or Johnny’s Route, was a tribute to their teammate Jan Kresinger, whose acclimatization challenges prevented him from joining the final climb. Over three days, the duo navigated a path that demanded technical prowess and steadfast courage, confronting sections with a daunting 80-degree inclination and M5 difficulty across 1300 meters.
The conditions on the mountain were as challenging as they were unpredictable. The climbers faced a gruelling test of endurance and skill, with the climb requiring a bivouac at 6400 meters on the ascent and another during the descent. This alpine-style approach underscored the raw and unfiltered nature of their endeavour. The route itself, carved through the heart of the West Face, bore the weight of their aspirations and the echoes of the 2021 attempt. As they traversed the ice and snow, the climbers were not just ascending a mountain; they were etching their story into the annals of Himalayan mountaineering.
Challenges and Triumphs:
The ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau by the Czech team was a narrative of overcoming formidable challenges and achieving remarkable triumphs. Weather, always an unpredictable factor in the Himalayas, posed a significant challenge. The climbers faced harsh conditions that tested their endurance and adaptability, requiring them to make critical decisions in real time.
Acclimatization was another hurdle, especially highlighted by Jan Kresinger’s decision to turn back due to insufficient acclimatization, a move that underscored the importance of respecting one’s limits in such extreme environments.
Amidst these trials, the unique achievements of the climb shone brightly. Vlček and Disman’s successful navigation of the uncharted Honzova cesta route was not just a physical conquest but a symbolic venture into unventured parts of Tengi Ragi Tau. This achievement resonated deeply within the mountaineering community, illustrating the blend of bravery and humility required to conquer such peaks. Their journey, marked by perseverance and the spirit of exploration, added a new chapter to the storied history of Himalayan ascents.
Significance of the Climb:
The successful ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau’s West Face by the Czech team stands as a monumental achievement in the world of mountaineering, particularly for the Czech climbing community. This expedition, marked by determination and skill, has not only expanded the boundaries of what is considered achievable in the Himalayas but also serves as an inspiring testament to Czech mountaineering’s capabilities and spirit.
Marek Disman’s reflections on Instagram encapsulate the essence of this feat: “Setting foot where none have ventured before.” This statement speaks volumes about the climb’s significance – it’s an exploration into the unknown, a journey beyond the mapped confines of the mountain. For the climbing community at large, this ascent is a reminder of the endless possibilities that lie in uncharted territories, encouraging climbers worldwide to pursue their ambitions, no matter how daunting they may seem.
The ascent of Tengi Ragi Tau by Jakub Vlček, Marek Disman, and Jan Kresinger marks a significant milestone in the history of mountaineering. Their successful navigation of the unclimbed Honzova cesta, a route of technical complexity and sheer determination, stands as a testament to their skill and the indomitable spirit of the Czech climbing community. This achievement not only adds to the rich tapestry of Himalayan exploration but also opens new possibilities for future expeditions. As climbers continue to look towards the Himalayas, peaks like Tengi Ragi Tau remain symbols of the unyielding call of adventure, challenging and inspiring the next generation of mountaineers to push the limits of what is possible.