American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Jannu

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Jannu. A strong French expedition, led by Lionel Terray, climbed Jannu (25,294 feet). They followed the extraordinarily difficult route which they had reconnoitered in 1959 to within about 1000 feet of the summit. (See AAJ 1960, 12:1, pp. 156-7 for details of the route.) The party of ten climbers, two scientists, doctor and photographer arrived at Base Camp exactly on schedule. Certain minor improvements over 1959 were made on the difficult route to Camp VI, which was established at 23,950 feet on April 18. From there on, three teams of climbers prepared the route, each working higher for a day before being relieved by the next. The first problem was to turn a large black gendarme; then they had to surmount four snowy teeth before entering a narrow steep couloir that led to the final ice ridge. Each day the new team climbed fixed ropes, advanced as far as it could above them, and descended fixing more ropes. Finally on April 27 René Desmaison, Paul Keller, Robert Paragot and the Sherpa Gyalzen Mikchung climbed the final knife-edged snow and ice ridge to the sharp summit. The next day Jean Bouvier, Pierre Leroux, Yves Pollet-Villard, André Bertrand, Lionel Terray, Jean Ravier and the Sherpa Wangdhi climbed the peak. Only Maurice Lenoir, sick in Base Camp, failed to get to the top.

Pumori. After the first attempt to climb Pumori (23,442 feet) failed in 1922, this difficult neighbor of Mount Everest repulsed the next five expeditions. The Swiss Werner Stäuble and the Sherpa Lobsang plunged to their death on its slopes in December, 1961. It was finally climbed on May 17. The Germans Gerhard Lenser, leader, and Hans Rützel and the Swiss Ernst Forrer and Ueli Hürlimann arrived at Base Camp (17,400 feet) on the north bank of the Khumbu Glacier on April 4 after a 21-day trip. They delayed their reconnaissance another eleven days and did not until April 21 establish Camp I (18,000 feet) at the foot of a 2300-foot rock wall, which the climbers likened to the north face of the Eiger. Camp II at 19,850 feet was perched on a strip of ice on this wall on April 28. It took six more days of difficult climbing to reach the col above the wall and at the foot of the northeast ridge, where at 20,400 feet they placed Camp III on May 3. Bad weather and need for rest at Base Camp prevented their return to the assault until May 13, when Lenser, Forrer and Hürlimann reoccupied Camp III. Though stormbound the next day, they enjoyed perfect weather on the ensuing ones. By noon of May 15 they had climbed the first difficulties and covered half the distance up the northeast ridge to set up their bivouac tent at 21,075 feet on what they later discovered was a cornice! On May 16 they spent the morning working their way up a 150-foot ice wall and by evening had climbed to the end of the ridge and to the foot of a 1650-foot ice slope that led to the top. The bivouac tent there at 21,800 feet constituted Camp V. They climbed the ice slope to the summit in five hours, arriving at 11 o’clock on May 17.

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