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On the border of Nepal and Tibet, there is an untouched valley clear of the crowds and commercialism of Everest but practically within reach of the world's highest mountain. Only opened to climbing in 2014, The Rolwaling valley is home to a number of unclimbed peaks and in November this year, Rab athlete Squash Falconer made the first ascent of one of them; the 6,704 metre Khang Karpo.

Climbing with a pair of old friends, Kath Staniland and Alison Levine, as well as locals Gopal Shrestha, Phurba Tenjing Sherpa, Tsering Pemba and Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa, the team made their ascent in a single summit push from 5,700 metres. This gallery follows both the journey to Rolwaling and the ascent of Khang Karpo.

[caption id="attachment_27784" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Squash, Alison & Kath in Kathmandu. Squash, Alison & Kath in Kathmandu.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27785" align="aligncenter" width="900"]In Kathmandu meeting Nima, Phurba & Tsering. In Kathmandu meeting Nima, Phurba & Tsering.[/caption]

squash-falconer-double-1IMG_8221

[caption id="attachment_27789" align="aligncenter" width="900"]" Happy to be in a tent again". " Happy to be in a tent again".[/caption]

"I always love getting back into a tent and getting into the simple rhythm of expedition life; rising with the sun, eating, hiking, doing only essential tasks like washing and organizing kit and of course talking – to each other – not on mobile phones."

[caption id="attachment_27790" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Remains of the monastery destroyed in the earthquake. Remains of the monastery destroyed in the earthquake.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27791" align="aligncenter" width="900"]A house destroyed by the earthquake. A house destroyed by the earthquake.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_27792" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Kath & Squash paragliding in Na. Kath & Squash paragliding in Na.[/caption]

9. Paragliding over Nasquash-falconer-double-2

[caption id="attachment_27796" align="aligncenter" width="900"]First glimpse of Khang Kharpo. First glimpse of Khang Kharpo.[/caption]

"Reminders of the earthquake from last year were everywhere.  Our Sherpas, who were all raised in the Valley, showed us their family homes that were destroyed and talked about the devastation it caused."

[caption id="attachment_27797" align="aligncenter" width="900"]The sun going down at base camp. The sun going down at base camp.[/caption]

15. High Campsquash-falconer-double-3

[caption id="attachment_27802" align="aligncenter" width="900"]Summit day. Summit day.[/caption]

"From Na, the expedition moved up a gear.  We were getting higher, feeling the lack of oxygen and the moraine changed from smooth trails to the unstable rock and ice of the glacier we were now on.  As we approached basecamp we had our first glimpse of Khang Kharpo."

19. Summit day - would we make it_squash-falconer-double-4

"...at 5,700m I got my first headache.  Kath had been suffering a little bit and Alison was showing signs of a pretty bad cold.  These are the times when keeping warm, fuelled and hydrated matter the most.  We kept a check on each other and ourselves."

All photographs courtesy of Squash Falconer.