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Asia, Nepal, Langtang Lirung Winter Ascent and Tragedy

Langtang Lirung Winter Ascent and Tragedy. Langtang Lirung (7234 meters, 23,734 feet) received its 13th ascent on December 18 when South Korean Kim Jin-Ryun and Nepalese Dorje Tamang and Bir Bahadur Tamang reached the summit from Camp IV at 6800 meters near the junction of the southwest and southeast ridges. (Their first summit try on December 13 had been defeated by fierce winds.) On the 18th, they left camp at six A.M. and reported by walkie-talkie at one P.M. that they had surmounted a steep face and had just gotten to the summit. They were all right but would be late in getting back to Camp IV. Companions in Camp II said that they saw them in the twilight at about 6900 meters at six P.M. At eight P.M. came their last radio message; they could not find Camp IV and the fixed ropes, which must have been carried away by an avalanche two hours earlier. They wanted to bivouac where they were. They were not seen or heard from again. A member of the expedition in a helicopter on the 26th took a careful look at the Camp IV area, but it was completely changed after being swept by a number of avalanches. They could see no trace of them or the camp. The expedition leader was Lee Jong-Ryang.

Elizabeth Hawley