AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri

Dhaulagiri. A very competent Swiss expedition of the Akademischer Alpen Club Zürich failed to reach the summit of Dhaulagiri (26,795 feet) in Nepal. The group under the leadership of Bernhard Lauterberg consisted of Dr. Ruedi Pfisterer, André Roch, Hannes Huss, Marc Eichelberg, Ruedi Schatz, and Peter Braun. They landed by plane at Pokhara, took a pack train to Beni, and forced their way up the difficult Mayangdi Khola Gorge and reached base camp on the northwestern side of the mountain at 11,600 feet on May 2nd. From Camp I in a glacial cirque at 14,850 feet they carried out an extended reconnaissance. The route chosen lay over a rock and ice buttress, into the north-face icefall, to a 5,000-foot steep snow face up which they hoped to climb to the west ridge at a point about 1500 feet from the summit. Camp II at 16,830 feet and Camp II at 18,150 feet were established on the buttress and at its top. Camp IV at 19,500 feet was at the foot of the snow face and Camp V at 21,450 was dug into the slope about half way up it. From this high camp Schatz and Braun set out with three sherpas, who carried oxygen equipment, to try for the summit. At 23,600 feet the latter turned back and on the descent slipped in a snow gulley and fell more than 1500 feet. Miraculously they checked their fall unhurt at the very brink of an ice cliff. Meanwhile the climbers continued on, using oxygen, up a slope which threatened to avalanche. At about 25,200 feet the steep snow gave way to even steeper powder snow-covered slabs, almost devoid of holds and those few sloping the wrong way. They abandoned their try after climbing to within 200 feet of the crest of the western ridge, having reached about 25,400 feet. They realized that they could not make the top without another camp and could see no possible camp site. The expedition returned, having reconnoitred what they feel is the only route up the mountain and having mapped its northern and western sides. They also reached the northeast and southern cols, completing the reconnaissance of all sides of the mountain which was begun by the French in 1950.