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Asia, Nepal, Upper Dolpo, Rolwaling Himal, Dingjung Ri South, First Authorized Attempt from Nepal

Dingjung Ri South, first authorized attempt from Nepal. Three members of Japan’s Kwansie Gakuin University Alpine Club, Mayuto Demoko, Kenro Nakajima, and Naoki Tenaka, made the first authorized attempt on the east ridge of Pt. 6,196m, which might be described as Dingjung Ri South. Arriving early in the year, they approached via Thame and the normal route toward the Nangpa La, then established a 4,950m base camp on the Meluka (Pangbuk) Glacier on March 3. They placed a higher camp below the southeast face of the peak at 5,435m. Neither Demoko nor Tenaka had previous altitude experience, so the team fixed 500m of rope up the southeast face and onto the crest of the east ridge. On March 12 they made their first summit attempt, but it was late by the time they reached 6,000m, so they retreated. Their second attempt took place on the 18th. At 5,700m Tenaka slipped on the fixed ropes and bruised himself, so he retreated. The other two continued to 6,132m but saw that the way involved a difficult traverse leading to a snow/ice face below the summit. Fatigue and lack of rope for fixing forced a decision to descend.

A little to the north, Dingjung Ri (6,249m) lies on the Tibetan border south of 6,625m Pangbuk Ri and north of the Menlung La. It has had no known recent ascent. But there is ambiguity when it comes to the naming of Pt. 6,249m and Pt. 6,196m. On the new list of permitted peaks announced in 2002, Pt 6,249m, as designated on the HMG-FINN map, is Dingjung Ri. In fact neither 6,249m nor 6,196m are named on this map. The old Schneider Rolwaling map has the heights of these peaks as 6,320m and 6,249m respectively, naming the latter (Pt. 6,196m on the FINN map) Dingjung Ri. This is the terminology used on Japanese maps, and the Japanese climbers refer to Pt. 6,196m as Dingjung Ri. It is unlikely the authorities know which is the true Dingjung Ri.

Pt. 6,249m was first climbed as long ago as 1955 during Alf Gregory’s productive Merseyside Himalayan expedition, which climbed many peaks in the Rolwaling region and made a reconnaissance of Gauri Shankar. Peter Boultbee and Denis Davis, who crossed the Menlung La west into Tibet and made an ascent of Ripimo Shar (6,647m) from the north, also moved north up the Menlung valley and climbed Dingjung Ri from the west. They were hindered from reaching the summit of this then unnamed peak by a crevasse, over which they executed a big jump. As Kang appears in so many peak names, they felt it apt to name the peak after one of the world’s great jumpers, the kangaroo, and called the peak Kangkuru, a moniker that stuck for many years and appears on the Japanese maps.

In March 2008 Kenro Nakajima returned and completed the route with Hiroki Yamamoto. The two climbed to the summit from a high camp at ca 5,430m and their climb, which appears to be the first authorized ascent of the peak, will be reported in AAJ 2009.

Kenro Nakajima, Japan; Elizabeth Hawley, AAC Honorary Member, Nepal, Richard Salisbury, The Himalayan Database; and Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, www.climbmagazine.com