Langdung, South Face to Southeast Ridge (Almost to Summit)
Nepal, Rolwaling Himal
In the autumn, Furtemba Sherpa and I embarked on an expedition with permits for unclimbed Langdung (6,357m) and Omi Tso Go (6,381m), both situated above the remote and stunning Rolwaling (a.k.a. Ripimo Shar) Glacier. A four-day trek brought us from Furtemba’s home village of Simigaon to Na, the Rolwaling’s highest village. Accompanied by three porters and a cook, we camped at Omi Tso and subsequently established a base camp at 5,000m on the Rolwaling Glacier.
Next day we explored the upper glacier for access to Langdung’s upper south face, bypassing an icefall with a series of loose but relatively easy couloirs (prone to rockfall) leading to clean, low 5th-class granite. We continued to 5,500m before descending.
Two days later we returned to our high point and established a comfortable camp with incredible views of the cirque. The next morning, November 1, we ascended talus and an easy snow couloir to reach a spectacular hanging valley. We then simul-climbed through the bergschrund and ascended ever-steepening snow and moderate alpine ice on the south face of Langdung, stopping only occasionally to chop a stance and rest our burning calves.
As Furtemba approached the last few meters to the corniced and incredibly loose southeast ridge, snow conditions plummeted. A short, corniced snow arête guarded Langdung’s summit block, just 25m above, but the unprotectable sugar snow posed too great a risk to continue. A series of 12 rappels from pickets and V-threads brought us back to the base of the face. As night fell, we packed our camp and descended the lower rock face, leaving two short sections of fixed line to aid our descent. The next day we shouldered massive loads and returned to Na.
Furtemba and I capped off the trip with a trek over the 5,700m Tashi Laptsa pass into the heart of the Khumbu, where we climbed Ama Dablam. While we were disappointed that the true summit of Langdung eluded us, we were thrilled to have climbed the entire south face (600m, 5.3 AI3 75°) and visited such a remote and spectacular region with perfect weather. The people of Rolwaling are among the most generous I’ve encountered, and the side valleys offer tremendous potential for alpine exploration.
– Hari Mix, AAC