Russians Climb Rolwaling Kang Shar

Russian climbers Alexey Lonchinsky and Yuri Koshelenko have just made the first ascent of the southeast buttress of 6,645m Rolwaling Kang Shar.

The two Piolet d’Or winners succeeded on a single two-day push, reported. Their plan was simple. After reaching Base Camp in Nepal’s Rolwaling Valley, they acclimatized on a nearby mountain up to 6,000m. After some rest, they waited for the right conditions, then set off last weekend. They considered the SE buttress the most technically appealing, beautiful, and logical route, they said.

Google Earth image of Rolwaling Kang Shar

Rolwaling Kang Shar. Photo: Google Earth


By satphone, Lonchinski told their home team about some technical sections and slow progress up the ridge. They bivvied the night before summiting.

“We thought it would be easier,” they said. “We broke a snow anchor and lost an ice axe, but everything’s fine.”

The weather was on their side, with cold but sunny days. Lonchinsky and Koshelenko summited at 9 am on Oct. 23.

The climbers sits on a stone fence in a rural area during the approaching trek in Rolwaling.

Alexei Lonchinski during the approach trek. Photo: Yuri Koshelenko/Vento


The way down did not go according to plan. The Russians planned to descend via the route of a previous Japanese team. In 2016, the Japanese made the first ascent of the neighboring western point (23 meters higher). However, conditions forced the Russians to quickly find an alternative option.

“The ridge is solid, hollow snow. It was not easy to even get to the top, and it was almost impossible to continue further,” the climbers said.

Their sponsor, Vento, says that the entire massif is known as Rolwaling Kang. However, Vento and identify the peak itself as Rolwaling Kang Shar. We are checking whether the summits reached by the Japanese and Russians are points on a massif, as they seem, or can be considered individual peaks. Check the photo provided by Vento below.

Aerial picture of the massive, with summit altitudes marked.

The photo by shows the two summits of Rolwaling Kang: the one summited by the Japanese (6,664m) and the point reached yesterday by Koshelenko and Lonchinsky (6,645m).


They finally finished their descent, rappeling down to the glacier and passing through a crevassed area before dark. “Then it was a simple descent to the base camp,” they said.

Koshelenko won a Piolet d’Or for his climb with Valeri Babanov up the South Face of 7,861m Nuptse in 2004, while Lonchinsky received his for the southwest face of 6,608 Thanmsherku in 2015 with Aleksander Gukov.

This is their second time as a climbing pair. They summited Phungi Peak (6,538m) in 2017 and were nominated for the Russian version of the Piolet d’Or.

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.