Situated on the southeastern edge of the Khumbu region in eastern Nepal, Baruntse is a large snow-covered massif with four different summits and is surrounded by three glaciers.
Due to its location near some of the most popular Himalayan climbing peaks – including Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Mount Everest and Makalu – the peak has become an increasingly sought out destination for mountaineers.
With only 979 metres (3,212 feet) of prominence, Baruntse is often used as a “warm up” peak for mountaineers planning to climb an 8,000er later.
However, Baruntse has also become a coveted summit in its own right. With a higher success rate relative to many of its neighbors and gorgeous views of nearby Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu, the peak is the perfect destination for less experienced mountaineers heading on a Himalayan adventure.
Quick Facts about Baruntse
- Baruntse is frequently climbed in conjunction with Mera Peak. Climbers will usually approach Baruntse from the south and climb Mera Peak to acclimatise. Afterwards, climbers head north and ascend via the southeast ridge.
- One of the highlights of a climbing expedition to Baruntse comes on the approach, as climbers cross the stunningly scenic Amphu Labtsa Pass (5,845 metres/19,177 feet). The pass is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas and boasts spectacular views.
- Baruntse is located in a more remote corner of the Khumbu region and as a result is less frequently visited by trekkers. It is the perfect palace to head for nature lovers as its remote location allows native flora and fauna to flourish in the valleys below.
History of Baruntse
The first ascent of Baruntse came on 30 May 1954, when Colin Todd and Geoff Harrow of the Hillary New Zealand Expedition climbed the peak via the southeast ridge, which remains the most commonly climbed route.
The east ridge of the mountain was not successfully climbed until 27 April 1980, when a team of Spanish and American mountaineers made it to the summit.
In 2018, Baruntse became the first 7,000er to be climbed by a dog, when a stray Nepalese mutt followed an American expedition all the way from the peak’s base camp to the summit.
Experience Required for Climbing Baruntse
Baruntse is widely considered to be one of the easiest 7,000ers to climb in the Himalayas. The ascent requires very little technical knowledge and most skills can be taught during the course of the climb.
However, guides do recommend previous experience hiking in the winter and climbing at an elevation of at least 4,000 metres (13,100 feet).
While little technical skill is required to climb the peak, a high level of physical fitness is very important. Most guides recommend climbers spend three to six months improving endurance, strength and flexibility prior to arrival in the Himalayas.
Main Routes up Baruntse
There is one main route that leads up to the summit of Baruntse and two minor routes that are generally only used by professional mountaineers.
The main route heads up to the top of the peak via the southeast ridge and requires a mix of glacier, snow and ice climbing.
The climb begins by traversing the two glaciers that surround the southern and eastern sides of the mountain. After crossing the glacier, most of the climbing is done over moderately steep ice and snow (at an average grade of 50º).
Just before reaching the summit, there is one steep icefall that requires some technical climbing ability, which can usually be taught by the guide prior to the ascent.
The north face route and east ridge route are the other two that lead to the summit. Both require more technical climbing ability and are generally more difficult than the southeast ridge route.