Last-Minute Attempt on Kangchenjunga

Determined to become the youngest-ever 14×8,000m summiter, 18-year-old Nima Rinji is hurrying to squeeze in a Kangchenjunga summit before the monsoon hits. After a failed attempt last week, he started up the mountain today after all the other teams had gone home.

Nima Rinji is the son of Seven Summit Treks’ CEO Tashi Lakpa Sherpa. He has been collecting 8,000m peaks for the last two years. If he succeeds on Kangchenjunga, he will have only the elusive Shisha Pangma to go.

Shisha Pangma has been troublesome for several would-be record-setters in recent years, as the Chinese have largely kept it closed since COVID. It was briefly open last fall, but the season ended prematurely after the deaths of four climbers in avalanches. However, agencies are hopeful Shisha Pangma will open up to foreigners again in the fall.

Rinji announced his ascent on his social media yesterday.

“Last week, I was there for the summit push but had to return because the fixing team was unable to open the route,” he wrote. “This time, we are prepared with enough ropes and manpower.”

The young climber may be climbing on an empty mountain, but he is far from alone. Naoko Watanabe — who is not on the mountain but has good contacts among local guides — reported on X that Rinji has four sherpas, including winter K2 summiter Sona Sherpa and his two regular partners. The team also includes two female clients: Alina (no surname given) and a German national with another sherpa guide.

Uncertain weather

According to the latest forecasts, the monsoon’s status for that area remains uncertain. Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology said the rain won’t hit the country until June 13. However, other reports say that the monsoon, coming from the Bay of Bengal, has already reached Sikkim in eastern Nepal, where Kangchenjunga is located.

Multimodel forecasts show the weather will be far from ideal. The wind should not be too strong, but constant snowfall will add to the already overloaded peak.

Weather chart for Kagchenjunga from June 3

Forecast for Kangchenjunga’s summit this week by multi-model


Epic end of season

As Rinji mentioned, the rope-fixing team failed to lay ropes last week from Camp 4 to the summit because of too much snow. They retreated, along with all the commercial climbers. Only Bartek Ziemski and Oswald Pereira of Poland kept going and summited by themselves, without ropes, oxygen, or anyone else to break trail. As reported last week, the Polish pair summited after a 20-hour struggle.

Kangchenjunga is the fourth 8,000m peak that Ziemski and Pereira have climbed and skied, after Makalu earlier this year and Dhaulagiri and Annapurna in 2023.

The climbers on a snowy summit, a pair of skis stuck on the snow.

Ziemski and Pereira on the summit of Kangchenjunga last week. Photo: Oswald R. Pereira


Watanabe has also mentioned that a sherpa team and a foreign climber on the South Face of Cho Oyu may still be on the mountain. She mentioned that this foreigner could be another would-be youngest 8,000m record-seeker, Alasdair McKenzie.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.