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Langdung, Southwest Face and Southeast Ridge

In late 2017, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Nima Tenji Sherpa, Pasang Kidar Sherpa, and I obtained a permit for unclimbed Langdung (6,357m), spanning the border with Tibet at the head of the Rolwaling Glacier (a.k.a. Ripimo Shar Glacier). The peak had been attempted several times, notably in 2016 when a party reached a point close to the summit on the southeast ridge (AAJ 2017).

We headed for the mountain on December 12 and reached a base camp below it, at 5,097m, after a week of trekking. We only spent a day there before ascending the Langdung icefall to put a high camp (5,700m) on the upper glacier below the south face. We felt physically strong enough at that point to go for the top, but were concerned about the weather; cirrus clouds racing over the summit were a bad sign.

Next morning, December 20, we planned to leave for the summit very early, but it was so cold we didn’t start until 6 a.m. In two and a half hours we climbed the 300m southwest face (45–60° ice) to reach the southeast ridge at around 6,000m. The crest above was longer and sharper than we had expected, mainly mixed with a few sections of loose rock that made it more challenging. We spent five and a half hours on the ridge before reaching the summit, where our satellite phone showed a reading of 6,350m.

After spending a short while soaking up the spectacular panorama, we made a quick descent down the southwest face in nine rappels [more or less following the line of the 2016 attempt]. Overall,we felt the 650m route was PD.

– Dawa Gyalje Sherpa, Nepal