Home SUMMIT Russian Climbers Conquer the Uncharted Heights of Rolwaling Kangchung Shar

Russian Climbers Conquer the Uncharted Heights of Rolwaling Kangchung Shar

by thesummiters.com
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Meet Russian Climbers Alexey Lonchinsky and Yuri Koshelenko, the intrepid Russian mountaineers who have just written history by making the very first ascent of Rolwaling Kang Shar’s southeast buttress. These two seasoned climbers, celebrated for their previous achievements, embarked on a daring adventure, and their journey is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Let’s dive into their remarkable expedition, full of challenges, triumphs, and the human spirit of adventure.

Yuri Koshelenko
Yuri Koshelenko

Getting Ready: Acclimatization and a Simple Plan

Alexey and Yuri kick-started their adventure by setting up Base Camp in Nepal’s Rolwaling Valley. To prepare themselves for the climb, they wisely decided to acclimatize by conquering a nearby mountain, reaching an impressive altitude of 6,000 meters. After allowing their bodies to adapt to the high altitudes, they patiently waited for the perfect conditions. The southeast buttress, with its technical allure, scenic beauty, and logical route, beckoned them to embark on this epic journey.

Alexey Lonchinsky
Alexey Lonchinsky

The Ascent and Personal Triumphs of Russian Climbers

As they began their ascent, our courageous climbers encountered various technical challenges along the way. Through satellite phone communication, they revealed the difficulties they faced on certain sections of the ridge and their slower-than-expected progress. In their unyielding spirit, they decided to bivouac for a night before making their final push towards the summit. The climb was not without its hurdles, including breaking a snow anchor and losing an ice axe. Yet, they stayed determined, expressing, “We thought it would be easier, but everything’s fine.”

Read Also: Russian Climbers at 7,000m on Cho Oyu

Embracing the Summit

Mother Nature smiled upon them as they made their way up, with the weather turning cold but clear. All their hard work and determination paid off when, on October 23, at 9 am, Alexey and Yuri stood triumphant on the summit of Rolwaling Kang Shar. It was a moment of immense personal achievement, showcasing the strength of the human spirit.

The Unexpected Challenge of Descent

The descent, however, presented a curveball. Initially planning to follow the route taken by a Japanese team in 2016, who had conquered a neighboring point just 23 meters higher, conditions on the ridge compelled them to quickly reassess their strategy. Solid, hollow snow made it nearly impossible to continue their descent along the ridge. So, our climbers had to adapt on the fly, ensuring their safe return.

Confirming the Peak’s Identity

Questions arose about the identity of the peak, whether it was part of the Rolwaling Kang massif or an individual summit. Their sponsor, Vento, referred to the entire massif as Rolwaling Kang, but both Vento and Mountain.ru recognized the peak as Rolwaling Kang Shar. Further investigations were needed to ascertain whether the Japanese and Russian ascents were on separate summits of the massif.

A Safe Return Home

Despite the unexpected challenges they encountered during their descent, Alexey and Yuri successfully completed their journey. They rappelled down to the glacier, carefully navigated through a crevassed area, and eventually reached their base camp before nightfall, securing their safety.

Accomplished Climbers

Both Alexey Lonchinsky and Yuri Koshelenko have rightfully earned their places in the mountaineering hall of fame. Yuri received a Piolet d’Or for his remarkable ascent of the South Face of 7,861m Nuptse in 2004, accomplished with Valeri Babanov. Alexey, on the other hand, was honored with a Piolet d’Or for his successful climb of the southwest face of 6,608m Thanmsherku in 2015, alongside Aleksander Gukov. This climb to Rolwaling Kang Shar marks the second time these exceptional mountaineers have partnered for a challenging ascent, following their triumphant summit of Phungi Peak (6,538m) in 2017, which earned them a nomination for the Russian equivalent of the Piolet d’Or. Their journey is a testament to the indomitable spirit of adventure and the incredible feats humans can achieve in the world of mountaineering.

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