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All systems go for Melungtse team
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Apr 13, 2005 09: 45 EST
“We’ve got the Permit to climb Melungtse!” reported Yuri Koshelenko. The Russian ace touched down in Kathmandu with Nikolay Totmyanin on Monday, by way of Qatar.

“The ambience in town is as usual. There are a lot of tourists in the streets,” commented Yuri.

Team gathering

With the climbing permit in their pocket and Tibet beckoning, all they needed was the third member of the team: American Carlos Buhler. Carlos arrived in Kathmandu yesterday. Now the team is complete and ready to go for the Kodari-Zangmu Tibetan border this Saturday, April 16th.

Carlos, a last minute addition to Koshelenko’s team, is itching to prove that Russians are not just bold and determined ‘heavy style’ expeditioneers, but can also show their colors in pure Alpine style.

New route in Alpine style

Yuri, Nikolay, and Carlos will attempt to open a new route on Melungtse’s north face. The small team will climb in Alpine style, once they reach the mountain from the isolated Rongshar Valley, in Tibet.

The first ascent on Melungtse Main was made in 1992 by Slovenians Andrej Stremfelj and Marco Prezlj through the South-East Face. American Carlos Buhler made the first attempt on the North face in 1999, and reached 5800 m.

Melungtse faces Nepal’s Rolwaling Valley to the south, and Rongshar in Tibet to the north. This is a totally isolated area, with no trace of civilization.

Carlos Buhler (Bozeman, Montana) is a major name in American climbing history. He has been climbing since the seventies and is still fully active. He draws from experience gained on thirty-four expeditions all around the world. In 1983, he climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest with the American team that made the first ascent of the Kangshung (East) Face from Tibet. His climbing resume includes: Ama Dablam NE face (1985), Changabang North face (1998), Kangchenjunga North ridge (1988), Cho Oyu’s Polish Route on the W ridge in Alpine style, Dhaulagiri, Dorje Lhakpa NE ridge, K2 north ridge, Nanga Parbat, and innumerable rock and ice first-line routes.

Yuri Koshelenko has been awarded the Piolet d’Or for the first ascent of Nuptse East, along with Valeri Babanov. Koshelenko was also a member of the Russian team who opened a new line on the center of Everest’s North face last year. Nikolay Totmyanin was awarded the Piolet d’Or last month: He was part of the team that accomplished the first climb on Jannu’s North face. Both climbs also won awards for the Best of ExplorersWeb expeditions in 2004.

Top image of - left to right - Yuri, Carlos and Nikolay, and bottom image of the climbing permit for Melungtse, courtesy of Mountain.ru/Royal Mount travel

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