Gauri Shankar (right)
|Elevation||7,134 m (23,406 ft)|
|Translation||The Goddess and her Consort (Sanskrit)|
Location on Nepal/China border
|Location||Nepal - China (Tibet)|
|First ascent||May 8, 1979 by John Roskelley and Dorje Sherpa|
|Easiest route||snow/ice climb|
Gauri Sankar is a mountain in the Himalayas, the second highest peak of the Rolwaling Himal, behind Menlungtse (7,181m). The name comes from Sanskrit for the Goddess and her Consort, denoting the sacred regard to which is afforded it by the peoples of Tibet and Nepal. Alternate names for the mountain include Gaurishankar and Jomo Tseringma (the Tibetan name for the peak).
Gauri Sankar lies near the western edge of the Rolwaling Himal, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northeast of Kathmandu. (It is almost directly between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, and is visible from Kathmandu.) To the west of the peak lies the valley of the Bhote Kosi, the western boundary of the Rolwaling Himal. To the north lies the Menlung Chu, which separates it from its sister peak Menlungtse. To the south lies the Rolwaling Chu, which leads up to the Tesi Lapcha pass, giving access to the Khumbu region.
The mountain has two summits, the northern (higher) summit being called Shankar (a manifestation of Shiva) and the southern summit being called Gauri (a manifestation of Shiva's consort). It rises dramatically above the Bhote Kosi only 5 km away, and is protected on all sides by steep faces and long, corniced ridges.
The first attempts to climb Gauri Sankar were made in the 1950s and 1960s but weather, avalanches and difficult ice faces defeated all parties. From 1965 until 1979, the mountain was officially closed for climbing. When permission was finally granted in 1979, an American-Nepalese expedition finally managed to gain the top, via the West Face. This was a route of extreme technical difficulty. The permit from the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism stipulated that the summit could only be reached if an equal number of climbers from both nations were on the summit team. John Roskelley and Dorje Sherpa fulfilled that obligation.
In the same year, a British-Nepalese expedition climbed the long and difficult Southwest Ridge to the south summit (7010m). Though they did not make the long additional traverse to the main summit, their climb was a significant achievement in itself.
The Himalayan Index lists only two additional ascents of the main summit of Gauri Sankar. The second ascent was made in the spring of 1984 by Wyman Culbreth and Ang Kami Sherpa, via a new route on a ridge on the southwest face. The third ascent (and the first winter ascent), in January 1986, was by South Korean Choi Han-Jo and Ang Kami Sherpa.