By Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO
Qungmo Kangri (7,069m), southwest face; Point 6,097m, north ridge; Dhungri II (6,194m), southwest ridge; Point ca 5,980m.
In the autumn a party of climbers made four ascents in the Qungmo Kangri group at the southwestern end of Nyanchen Tanglha. They first tried the lower of two peaks referred to as Dhungri by nomads. This peak is generally known as Tangmonja and was attempted in 1999, via the southwest ridge, by a British party comprising Derek Buckle, Gary Hill, Alyson Starling, John Town, and John Whiteley. They retreated because of poor rock and bad weather but later climbed a smaller summit to the northeast named Machag. The 2011 team completed this ridge (350m, UIAA V R M3 AI3), to reach the summit of what they call Dhungri II (29°56’46″ N, 90°04’55″ E). Although they believed they were making a first ascent, they discovered a new rappel anchor on the top, and suspect that another party had climbed the north ridge in September.
They then turned to the southeast face of the higher peak, Dhungri I (6,328m, 29°55’58″ N, 90°05’10″ W), an elegant summit also referred to as Xabu. However, they failed to reach the base, as it necessitated crossing a ridge that proved to be bigger and sharper than suggested on Google Earth. Instead they soloed a predominantly rocky ridge to a point of ca 5,980m between Dhungri I and II. It was 700m of mostly walking/scrambling but with a few sections of around M4.
The team made the first ascent of the southwest face of Qungmo Kangri (29°54’12″ N, 90°01’29″ E), starting from the base of the glacier in the Jumu Valley, an ascent of 1,300m, with difficulties of M4/M5 and AI4. They made their first bivouac shortly before joining the south ridge. After reaching the upper ridge, they found traces of fixed rope. They descended the south ridge to the col, where they made their second bivouac. On day three they climbed the short north ridge of Point 6,097m, returned to the col, and descended first west, then south, to their camp below the glacier.
This was the fifth known ascent of Qungmo Kangri, the previous four following the south ridge. The first three (Chinese-Korean, then two Japanese) approached the ridge from the east. The fourth was a solo ascent from the west by Christian Haas (AAJ 2006). Point 6,097m was possibly climbed by one of the first three teams, and it was definitely climbed by Haas, from the west, who traversed it on his way to Qungmo Kangri.