Namcha Barwa from the west, from Zhibai observation platform
|Elevation||7,782 m (25,531 ft) |
|Prominence||4,106 m (13,471 ft) |
|Isolation||708 kilometres (440 mi)|
|Location||Tibet Autonomous Region|
north of McMahon Line
Namcha Barwa Himal
|First ascent||1992, China–Japan expedition|
|Easiest route||SSW ridge on rock, snow and ice|
Namcha Barwa or Namchabarwa (Tibetan: གནམས་ལྕགས་འབར་བ།, Wylie: Gnams lcags 'bar ba, ZYPY: Namjagbarwa; Chinese: 南迦巴瓦峰, Pinyin: Nánjiābāwǎ Fēng) is a mountain in the Tibetan Himalaya. The traditional definition of the Himalaya extending from the Indus River to the Brahmaputra would make it the eastern anchor of the entire mountain chain, and it is the highest peak of its own section as well as Earth's easternmost peak over 7,600 metres (24,900 ft).
Namcha Barwa is in an isolated part of southeastern Tibet rarely visited by outsiders. It stands inside the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River as the river enters its notable gorge across the Himalaya, emerging as the Siang and becoming the Brahmaputra. Namcha Barwa's sister peak Gyala Peri at 7,294 metres (23,930 ft) rises across the gorge 22 kilometres (14 mi) to the NNW.
Namcha rises 5,000–6,800 metres (16,400–22,300 ft) above the Yarlung Tsangpo. After 7,795-metre (25,574 ft) Batura Sar in the Karakoram was climbed in 1976, Namcha Barwa became the highest unclimbed independent mountain in the world, until it was finally climbed in 1992.
Frank Kingdon-Ward described in the 1920s "a quaint prophecy among the Kongbo Tibetans that Namche Barwa will one day fall into the Tsangpo gorge and block the river, which will then turn aside and flow over the Doshong La [pass]. This is recorded in a book by some fabulous person whose image may be seen in the little gompa [monastery] at Payi, in Pome."(126-7)
Namcha Barwa was located in 1912 by British surveyors but the area remained virtually unvisited until Chinese alpinists began attempting the peak in the 1980s. Although they scouted multiple routes, they did not reach the summit. In 1990 a Chinese-Japanese expedition reconnoitered the peak. Another joint expedition reached 7,460 metres (24,480 ft) in 1991 but lost member Hiroshi Onishi in an avalanche. The next year a third Chinese-Japanese expedition established six camps on the South Ridge over intermediate Nai Peng (7,043 metres or 23,107 feet) reaching the summit October 30. Eleven climbers climbed to the summit. U.K. Alpine Club's Himalayan Index lists no further ascents.