I went on the Annapurna base camp trek including Tharpu Chuli peak climbing with a local Nepali company. The local team included a guide, cook and a porter.
The Nepali climbing practices didn't meet the bar for safety, so you should definitely know what you are doing. Do your homework carefully!
I advise everyone to do extra preparation about the technical climbing part, including the technical equipment needed and the day-by-day technical challenges involved.
The trip involves some steep sections both on the way up and down - so make sure you are familiar with safe climbing/rappelling practices on both rock and ice. Use of helmet, harness and ropes is critical starting from the Annapurna base camp. Also pay attention to backup mechanisms such as using a friction knot for rappelling and a second ascender for going up a fixed line.
The technical part includes:
1. going down/up the glacier valley steep landslide
2. climbing/rappelling the steep rock ledges on the other side
3. climbing/rappelling the ice/snow slopes of Tharpu Chuli
Please note this is not a highly popular route, so the route maintenance is not ideal. Please pay extra attention and double check the existing anchors along the route.
In addition, the Nepali guide wanted me to go up the icy slopes along a fixed line with an ascender only rather than use an ice axe. This is not climbing in its pure sense, so if you wish to climb with an ice axe - make sure the guide is prepared for that when you book the trip.
As the temperature at Tharpu Chuli base camp and high camp are very low and the winds are strong, I advise to bring an extra isolating mattress.
Extra caution should be taken regarding food hygiene as Nepali standards are not western standards.
Overall this is a great experience with amazing views. Highly recommended but please do your homework first.
We summited Tharpu Chuli/Tent Peak in just after noon on the 04/04/12 in a terrible white out. We were a bit confused about the summit or not, as the summit is a somewhat large plateau.
Our sherpas told us that we were on the summit, and our altitude meters all showed an altitude above, so we claimed the summit.
Afterwards after studying photos of our route could we see that we reached the top all right.
Failure!! To even really get onto the mountain! Our guide was disappointed, our porters were happy. It was our only window of opportunity as far as time and money go but it was way too early in the season - it snowed and snowed and on the way to our b.c. there was powder snow up to my waist. We saw an avalanche big enough to swallow a small city heading towards where we would be in a few hours...at which time it we called it a day. Annapurna and MP base camps were deserted. I experienced the coldest conditions I ever have, a consequence of which was terrible dehydration and not a single photograph to remember the experience by. 2 digital cameras rendered useless.
Tried to reach the summit but a safe route is really complicated to locate. Too many crevasses at around 5300 meters high. There might be a way up but I couldn't find it. All teams have turned back this season due to heavy snow and impossibility to find a way through the plateau located at the base of the mountain.
Anyway, the climb from the Annapurna base camp to the Tharpu Chuli High camp is fantastic.
Only had one day to climb due to my girlfriend's illness several days before. But we went to 4900m, and there below Tharpu Chuli I proposed to her (bought the ring in Kathmandu), and she accepted. Hopefully we will go back and have time to climb again in this fabulous place...
This is a great summit... not a terribly technical climb and you get incredible views of Machhapuchare, Annapurna, and a bunch of others. Watch your step, though - I dropped my sunscreen here and it was last seen heading toward China at a great rate of speed!