Piolets d'Or - Lunag Ri (6,895M)

Lunag Ri (6,895M)

Lunag Ri from the southwest.
(A) Main summit (6,895m).
(B) Southeast top
(1) Line of Anker-Lama attempts in 2015 and 2016.
(2) Line of Lama’s solo ascents.
(H1) High point with Anker in 2016.
(H2) High point of 2015 attempt and 2016 solo attempt.
©David Lama/American Alpine Journal

FIRST ASCENT VIA WEST RIDGE1,500M, 90°,
DAVID LAMA (AUSTRIA), SOLO, OCTOBER 23-25

Lunag  Ri  is  the  culminating  point  of  the  Rolwaling's  Lunag  Massif,  which  straddles  the  Nepal-Tibet  border.  Before  2018  it  was  one  of  the  highest  unclimbed peaks in Nepal and there had been at least four serious attempts to reach its lofty summit. An attempt from the southeast, and another from the north, both finished on a subsidiary southeast top. In 2015 Conrad Anker and  David  Lama  reached  a  point  on  the  west  ridge  around  300m  below  the  summit,  finding  the  ridge  more  complex  and  difficult  than  expected.  They returned in 2016, only for Anker to be evacuated by helicopter after suffering a  stroke.  Lama  subsequently  made  a  bold  solo  attempt,  surpassing  his  previous high point by around 50m.In 2018, when Anker confirmed he would no longer go on this sort of expedi-tion, Lama decided to decline other offers from strong partners and to go it alone. In the intense cold of late October, the Austrian climbed difficult mixed terrain, ice and snow, with two bivouacs, to reach the crux technical climbing on the steep headwall. Surmounting this, he made an airy traverse on to the spectacular  diving-board  summit.  Lama  descended  by  rappel,  mostly  along  the  line  of  his  route.  It  was  a  climb  that  would  remain  "engraved  in  my memory for the exposure, the difficulty, the cold and the loneliness, and for a successful conclusion to a personal project".

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