Chad Kellogg and David Gottlieb Return to Virgin Peak Lunag I (6895m)

"We have plans to attempt Lunag Ri again next year knowing much more about the face and time of year to climb," Chad Kellogg concluded his 2012 expedition with the determination to return to the highest unclimbed ‘mountain’ in Nepal, and here they are. Chad was expected to fly towards Kathmandu on September 25th, with his climbing partner of last year, David Gottlieb, to attempt the main peak (6895m) in Lunag massif.

Follow the dispatches of the expedition, here.

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The ridge leading to the summit of Lunag Ri from Jobo Rinjang; Source

Lunag Massif
In October 2008, standing at the virgin top of Kang Nachugo (6735m) on a windless and clear summit day, American alpinists David Gottlieb and Joe Puryear were mesmerized by the beauty of mountains all around, "In the distance to the north, rugged peaks framed the seemingly endless Tibetan Plateau. Gaurishankar, Menlungste, Cho Oyu, Gyachungkang, Pasang Lhamu Chuli - many peaks we could easily identify. But one monstrous massif stood out, and we had no idea what it was. It was shorter than the surrounding giants, but its bulk and steep vertical relief on all sides were impressive."

Without wasting any time, the duo went on to find more about the mountain (which in fact turned out to be a spectacular massif). The Lunag massif runs North-South with the latter edge connect to a pyramidal peak of 6778m towards east, joined via a 2km long sharp ridge. This peak known as Jobo Rinjang (6778m) was seen by David and Joe from Kang Nachugo top.

In April 2009, they made the first ascent of Jobo Rinjang (6778m) in alpine style and did a reconnaissance of Lunag massif, which forms the Nepal-Tibet border southwest of the Nangpa La. These peaks were unnamed on majority of the maps. David and Joe called the massif Lunag, termed so because of a glacier of same name at its bottom.

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BC at Lunag glacier with massif in background; Source

The Nomenclature
Their nomenclature of the massif was published in AAJ 2010, "However, they also settled on Lunag as the most appropriate name for the group, and propose that the highest summit, which lies at the southern end of the chain, be named Lunag I (6895m) and the summits farther north Lunag II (6891m), III (6795m), IV (6781m, the old Jobo Ribjang), and V (6550m). Peak 6492m, west of Lunag I, they designate Little Lunag. Running east from Lunag I is a 2km corniced snow/ice crest, ending in the fine pyramid of Peak 6778m, Jobo Rinjang."

Chad and David
David Gottlieb and Joe Puryear were climbing Labuche Kang (7367m) in October 2010 when the latter suffered a fall caused by a cornice collapse, and died. Following year, David along with Chad Kellogg bagged the first ascent of Pangbuk Ri (6625m) in Khumbu region.

In autumn 2012, the two alpinists travelled to Lunag to attempt the unclimbed Lunag Ri (Lunag I – 6895m). However, David got ill with severe cough and fever, at the very start of expedition and couldn’t take part in climbing the wall. Chad made an unsuccessful solo attempt on the mountain in first week of November. The climb was too difficult and dangerous. However, a few days later, he made the remarkable first solo ascent of Jobo Rinjang. It was second ascent of the peak after David and Joe’s 2009 climb. Chad climbed the wall in less than eight hours, with a round trip time of 13 hour 20 minutes, from ABC to ABC.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X4nlqbcSPl0/TtCbur9rldI/AAAAAAAAAMg/6J_bLdTFEsc/s1600/summit.jpg
David and Chad at Pangbuk Ri Summit; Source

Profiles from Explorersweb

Chad Kellogg has climbed extensively throughout the states and South America, with a number of new routes from Alaska to Argentina, and a large number of first ascents in China. He made speed climbs on peaks such as Mount Rainier (2004) and Denali's West Buttres (solo speed record) in 2003, and several attempts to speed climb Everest without bottled oxygen. He soloed Aconcagua's south face via a new route, made the first ascent of Pangbuk Ri (6,625m) with David Gottlieb and second ascent of Jobo Rinjang (6778m), climbing solo.

Specialized in new routes and/or first ascent on Himalayan 6000ers, top mountain & climbing photographer David Gottlieb used to partner with the late Joe Puryear. In 2009, David and Joe climbed Lunag Ri SE and compiled a map of the area for others to follow. October 27 2010, while ice climbing on Labuche Kang in preparation for a first ascent of the 6,771-meter (22,215-foot) Takargo peak, a cornice broke off and Joe fell to his death. In 2012 David returned to Lunag Ri with Chad Kellogg to attempt the highest top (6895m) in the massif.

Lunag massif was opened for climbing in 2004, whereas Jobo Rinjang has been in permitted list since 2002. Swiss climber, Stephane Schaffter, first attempted Jobo Rinjang in 2008.

Expedition Website: explorersweb.com/kellogg8

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