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Asia, Nepal, Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu. A German expedition was led by Rudi Rott to Cho Oyu (26,750 feet), the seventh highest mountain in the world, to attempt its third ascent and the first one on skis. During the acclimatization period Fritz Stammberger and the Sherpa Aila climbed Napche Himal (21,654 feet) on April 6 and Stammberger and Georg Huber on the 11th climbed a 22,048-foot peak called locally Sasamba Ri; the latter lies in the semicircle of ice peaks that ring in the Kyabrak Glacier on the south. On April 15 the attack on Cho Oyu began. On April 26 Huber, Stammberger, Dr. Alois Thurmayr and the Sherpa Phu Dorje left Camp IV at 23,600 feet on a summit attempt. Stammberger and Phu Dorje reached a spot 150 feet below the top, where the Sherpa remained while Stammberger climbed on alone to the true summit. The other two were met on the descent and were persuaded to return to Camp IV, whence they hoped to make another attempt. After two days in the high camp, it became apparent that no further summit attempt was possible. Indeed, when the three sahibs came out of the tents to begin the descent (Phu Dorje had already descended to send up more fuel, which was now exhausted), Thurmayr and Huber were too weak to move. Stammberger started down on skis alone for help. (Skis were impractical on the top 2000 feet of the peak.) Four Sherpas climbed upwards the next day, but only 60-year old Sirdar Dawa Tensing reached Camp IV with fuel. He descended, expecting the sahibs to follow. From Base Camp more Sherpa help was summoned from villages below. Finally Stammberger, Dawa Tensing, Phu Dorje and a post runner climbed back to Camp IV, where they found Huber already two days dead and Thurmayr delirious. Although they made a sled to carry the weakened climber down, Thurmayr died on May 7 during the evacuation between Camps III and II.