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with Stefan Nestler

Russians make first ascent of Phungi

Ascent (red) and descent route (green)

Who says that there are no playgrounds for top climbers in the Himalayas anymore? Yury Koshelenko and Aleksei Lonchinskii have erased a blank spot on the map of the six-thousanders. 0n 28 October the two Russians succeeded the first ascent of the 6,538-meter-high Phungi, located west of the eight-thousander Manaslu in Nepal. The 54-year-old Koshelenko and  Lonchinskii, aged 35, climbed on a rather direct route through the about  1,500-meter-high Southeast Face of the mountain. It took them three days for the ascent in Alpine style and two more days for the descent on a different route.

Sharp ridge

At the summit ridge

According to Yury, they entered the wall with ice passages of 60 to 80 degrees in good weather on 26 October. After the second bivouac, five pitches below the summit ridge, the weather deteriorated rapidly. It became very cold and windy, Koshelenko reports. Over the sharp, corniced firn ridge the duo worked their way to the summit, which they reached on 28 October at 4:30 pm. The descent through an icefall in bad weather was sometimes tricky, reports Yury.

Piolet d’Or winner

Yuri Koshelenko (r.) and Aleksei Lonchinskii

Koshelenko and Lonchinskii belong to the elite of Russian climbers. Both were already awarded the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of the climbers”: Koshelenko in 2003 for his first ascent of 7,804-meter-high Nuptse East via the Southeast Pillar (with Valerij Babanov), Lonchinskii for the first ascent of the Southwest Face of the 6,623-meter-high Thamserku (with Alexander Gukov).


6. November 2017 | 17:42