The First Ascent of Phu Kang

The American Alpine Journal recently shed light on a fascinating climb last year that flew under the radar: a first ascent in Nepal.

A South Korean team, led by renowned alpinist Kim Mi-Gon, summited 6,694m Phu Kang on May 4, 2022. The mountain is almost inaccessible. A 2008 Swiss-French team, which had set its sights on Phu Kang, couldn’t find a way there.

Phu Kang lies in the Nar Phu Valley in the Manang District of Nepal, along the Tibetan border northeast of Himlung Himal. The peak has been on the permitted climbing list since 2003.

Phu Kang 6,694m, indicated with letter "C".

Phu Kang 6,694m, indicated by the letter “C”. Photo: Paulo Grobel via American Alpine Club


The team consisted of Kim Mi-Gon, Jang Dae-Boo, Kang Sin-Won, Kim Min-Soo, Lee Kun-Jin, and Nepalis Chhiring Sherpa and Dawa Tshering Sherpa.

According to their report in the AAJ, the winds were strong, and it started to snow every day around 11 am. Still, the Koreans climbed via a neighboring mountain that they called Peak Circa 6,400 and then up the northwest ridge.

“By 4:40 am [on May 4], we had reached the ridgeline, close to the summit of Peak ca. 6,400m,” they wrote. “We crossed the latter, which had a difficult descent on the far side, to reach the sharp northwest ridge of Phu Kang.”

Finally, five South Korean climbers — Jang Dae-Boo, Kang Sin-Won, leader Kim Mi-Gon, Kim Min-Soo, Lee Kun-Jin — and both Chhiring and Dawa Tshering reached the top on May 4 at 10:30 am.

“The highest point was a flat expanse of snow, situated not on the frontier ridge as expected, but around 150m into Tibet,” wrote Kim Mi-Gon. More on their climb here.

Nepal Mountaineering Association congratulated the South Korean team for the first ascent of Phu Kang.

The Nepal Mountaineering Association congratulates the South Korean team after their first ascent of Phu Kang. Photo: The Himalayan Times

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.