13 June 2010
On February 10, 2010, Li Lan and Yan Gonggong summited Wuse Shan 5,430 m (also called “Five Colors Mountain" for its striated walls of multicolored limestone, shale and granite) via the south face. The peak had been attempted several times, but Gonggong and Lan believe their ascent was the first. The route was named Another Day (V 5.9+, 18 pitches). It’s serious because of poor rock, especially in the lower limestone folds, and a constant threat of stonefall.
Located between Shuangqiao and Changping Valleys, Wuse got its name because of the many layers of different rock types visible on the peak, especially on the sunny south face. At the bottom there is limestone, above that is shale, and then granite to the summit.
The team started on February 8 from Shuangqiao Lodge to the foot of the talus slope beneath the face where they set up camp at 4,800m.
The morning after they discovered that the bottom limestone layer of the south face was "impossible to protect or to climb. Handholds broke into powder in our fingers," Yan wrote on his report, so they tried to avoid the poor rock by angling to the right, but conditions remained hazardous through the first seven pitches of fourth- and fifth-class scrambling.
Then four more pitches through a shale layer until the second bivy. The day after they scaled seven pitches ( the 6th providing the crux of the climb, featuring an exposed traverse followed by 20m of vertical rock leading back to the crest of the spur) to one of twin summits; another summit to the east looked identical in height to the one they were on and less than a ropelength away. Being already 1 PM, Dongdong and Lan didn’t give it a try.
The descente took two days in reason of problems of stuck ropes and an injury on the face for Yan receiving a falling rock
According to Dongdong, Li Lan is perhaps China’s only true female alpinist and anyway the only Chinese woman ready to lead a technical pitch on a high mountain. This was their second climb together: the previous month the pair had failed on a new route up the west side of Chibu (5,430m), a few kilometers north of Wuse.
Sources: Americanalpineclub ; alpinist