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Kangchung Shar, Northwest Ridge from the South (First Official Ascent)

On November 6, Ben O'Connor Croft and I (U.K.), Joshua Jarrin (Ecuador), Pasang Bhote Sherpa, and Ang Phurba Sherpa (Nepal) made the first official ascent of Kangchung Shar (6,063m), a peak on the list of 104 summits newly approved by the Nepal government in 2014.

We first climbed to the Kangchung La, the 5,637m col between Kangchung Nup and Shar, via a large broken icefall on the south face. From there it was about 500m (TD) up the northwest ridge to the summit. Leaving the col, we followed 40° snow slopes toward a ramp, then left up steeper snow and ice, passing small rock bands. Arriving at a shoulder on the ridge, we then climbed the crest until steepness pushed us onto the south face and past a rock ramp chocked with sugar snow. From there we connected the dots between snow slopes, seeking protection in sometimes very chossy rock bands. After bypassing a loose chimney, we reached an airy traverse that gave access to a snow slope leading to a notch between the two summits.

We left base camp (5,200m) at 1 a.m. and reached the top at 11:30 a.m., having fixed 400m of rope. The climb was not too technical but required care with the rock and had enough exposed sections to make it serious. We descended the same way.

– Masha Gordon, U.K.

Editor's note: Although neighboring Kangchung Nup (6,043m) was first climbed by Edmund Hillary and various members of the 1953 Everest expedition during the acclimatization period before the great ascent, Kangchung Shar does not appear to have been climbed before November 1984, when it was soloed by Franci Knez (Slovenia) and later in the same month by Trevor Pilling (U.K.). Both climbers reached the Kangchung La from the south and followed the northwest ridge to the top. There are no reported ascents starting from the north. Various sources document Charles Evans and Sherpas making the first ascent of Kangchung Shar in the post-monsoon of 1953 (Evans stayed in Nepal after the Everest expedition). However, his is a different “Kangchung Shar,” a peak of 5,837m south-southeast of the main group, on the ridge just north of the Nire La.