After British exploration of the Gangotri Glacier in 1933, a German expedition led by R. Schwarzgruber climbed nearby peaks and did a reconnaissance of Shivling in 1938. They reported "no feasible route" on the mountain due to its steepness and the threat of falling seracs.
Shivling was first climbed on 3 June 1974 via the west ridge, by a team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, led by Hukam Singh. The ridge is the lowest-angle feature on the mountain, but still involves serious mixed climbing, and is threatened by the serac barrier noted by the Germans. The ridge leads to the col between the two summits; a steep snow/ice ridge then leads to the main summit.