American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Nampa, Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

Nampa, Attempt. Our overland approach to Nampa (22,162 feet) was the only inexpensive way. Before we left England on July 12, we had received permission from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, as well as from the Nepalese Government. Our arrival in Delhi was met by a refusal by the Indian Ministry of Defense to allow us through the Inner Line into Nepal without an Indian Liaison Officer. Although we already had a Nepali Liaison Officer, the Indian was a valuable asset. We approached Nepal from the west via Almora and Pithorgarh and left our overland transport at Jhulaghat (1600 feet) on September 16. We spent 13 days, including a rest day when porters were changed, walking up the Chamlia River in Nepal. As the end of the monsoon was near, rain fell on only a few days but it made the steeper trails slippery and wide loads difficult in the entangling bamboo, leech-infested from 5000 to 9000 feet. Base Camp was established on September 28 at 12,700 feet and Camp IA on October 5 at 16,700 feet. Bad weather intervened but the siting of Camp II on October 11 on the Nampa Col at 17,700 feet boosted morale. Beyond, a level, exposed, magnificent ridge led to pinnacles, beyond which Camp III was occupied at 18,200 feet on October 18. Then followed steep snow and ice climbing up the west ridge to Camp IV at 19,200 feet on October 20 and Camp V at 20,500 feet the next day. All technical difficulties had been overcome. The weather was never completely settled as we had hoped at this time of the year. Robert Beighton and Brian Cosby forged ahead magnificently but Beighton suspected he had pulmonary edema on October 21 and in desperate weather they descended to Camp III. The big effort expended by the rest of the party in support had exhausted its remaining strength. No further attempt was made since food supplies were low and the weather much colder. The other members of the party were Arthur Clarke and his wife Yvonne, Bill Rowntree and I as leader.

John Allen, Alpine Club

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