American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Himalayas, Saipal

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1955

Saipal. A seven-man Austrian expedition, under the leadership of Dr. Rudolf Jonas, left Tanakpur for Northwestern Nepal in April, 1954. Their route lay through Chainpur, where they were received by the Maharaja of Bajang, who later visited them at their base camp. From Chainpur, they had to cross three 9000 to 10,000-foot ridges before reaching the Ghat Khola, which they followed to its source on the slopes of Saipal (23,096 feet). From their base camp at 13,700 feet in the cirque at the foot of the 10,000-foot south face, they immediately began their reconnaissance. The view from a 17,700-foot peak, which had the shape of the Matterhorn, showed them that the steep ice slopes and the wrongly tipped strata would preclude any attempt on the south face. The eastern and western sides of the mountain were next examined. The east ridge was ruled out because of the steepness and the rottenness of the lower part. A spur that led to the south ridge was likewise rejected because of its rotten rock. During the reconnaissance, another mountain, 19,200 feet high, was climbed which was described as very difficult and even dangerous. They finally attacked the west ridge and established Camp 3 some 650 feet below the summit of a 21,325-foot minor summit which they called the Firnkopf. The ridge from there to the summit looked difficult but possible. At that camp, Karl Reiss fell sick with pneumonia and died on May 31st. This tragedy and the early arrival of the monsoon called operations to a halt.

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