Nepalis Bag First Ascent of Khumjungar Himal

Prakash Gurung and Yukta G are back in Tange with a first ascent under their belts and a message for the climbing community: a cleaner, more sustainable way to challenge Nepal’s peaks is possible.

The climbers became the first to step on the top of 6,759m Khumjungar Himal in the upper Mustang region.

“We had a challenging journey, enduring freezing temperatures and trekking and climbing for several days,” they wrote immediately afterward. They have posted a summit video on Instagram and will share a complete report when they reach Kathmandu.

Promoting home peaks

Prakash Gurung had time to text ExplorersWeb briefly. Despite the wintry conditions, the climbers admitted that climbing alpine style and standing on a previously untouched summit was “great fun.”

Both Prakash and Yukta belong to the Gurung ethnic group. Like the Sherpas, they have a Tibetan background and inhabit mountain areas. The Gurungs live mainly around the Annapurna area and also in districts like Manang, Dolpo, Kaksi, Lamjung, Gorkha, Parbat, Tanahun, Syangja  — and Mustang, where Khumjungar Himal is located.

“We’ve known each other since 2015 and both work as guides on Himalayan expeditions,” Prakash told us. “Last year, we decided to explore new peaks in our province, and we wanted to go alpine style, in the hope of reducing waste materials left in the mountain environment.”

Keep the business alive through sustainability

“As we all know, the climbing style based on fixing ropes produces lots of waste every year and causes serious pollution in mountain environments,” Prakash said. “With climbs like this on Khumjungar Himal, we want to promote mountaineering tourism in different regions of the country that could benefit from it, and we want to do it sustainably.”

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.