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6/21/13 – A Czech team has reportedly done the first ascent of the northwest face of Talung, a rarely climbed 7,349-meter (24,111-foot) peak in the Kangchenjunga area of Nepal. Marek Holocek and Zdenek Hruby climbed their 8,200-foot route over a seven-day round trip in May, reporting difficulties of WI6 M6+.
Holocek, one of the most accomplished Czech mountaineers, had previously attempted Talung’s northwest pillar in 2004. This year’s successful climb was likely the third ascent of the peak.
Talung was first climbed in 1964 by a German-Austrian expedition; the Austrian climber Franz Lindner and Sherpa Tenzing Nindra reached the summit. In 1991, Marko Prezelj from Slovenia did the second ascent, via a new route on the west face; his partner, Andrej Stremfelj, turned back 50 meters from the top. This ascent was a warm-up for the two men’s bold alpine-style first ascent of the southwest ridge of Kangchenjunga, considered one of the great Himalayan climbs of the era.
In the Khumbu region of Nepal, the Russian-Ukrainian pair of Vladimir Belousov and Marina Kopteva did the first ascent of the steep east face of Kyajo Ri (6,186m/20,295′) over six days in May. The route required 28 pitches, with the crux on the steep lower wall between 5,100 and 5,600 meters. After summiting on the fifth day, the two rappelled the route over the following day. They called the route Stealing Beauty and gave it the Russian grade of 6A, with difficulties of VI M6 90°.
The east face of Kyajo Ri had been attempted at least four times previously. Belousov had previously done a new route on Kongde Ri in Nepal. Kopteva is one of the foremost female climbers from the Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union, with major ascents on Amin Brakk and Great Trango Tower in Pakistan.
Dates of ascents: May 2013
Sources: czechclimbing.com, Anna Piunova, American Alpine Journal