American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, European Everest Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1973

European Everest Expedition. The pre-monsoon European Everest expedition’s attempt to climb the southwest face ended in abject failure due mostly to poor leadership and dissention among the climbers. The leader, German Dr. Karl Maria Herrligkoffer, was with the expedition for only three weeks of its three months’ duration. Shortly after arrival at Base Camp, he had to return to Germany for more clothing and equip- ment for the Sherpas. Later he was evacuated for medical reasons, stemming probably from his return to 16,000 feet by helicopter. The climbers were Michel Anderl, deputy leader; Fritz Kuen, leader on the face; Adolf Huber, Adolf Weissensteiner, Werner Haim, Horst Schneider, Adolf Sager, Sepp Maag, Peter Perner, Austrians; Leo Breitenberger, Italian; Don Whillans, Doug Scott, Hamish Maclnnis, British; Peter Bednar, naturalized German of Czech origin; Hans Berger, Swiss; and Misha Saleki, Iranian. The weather was generally excellent but there were early delays in the Khumbu Icefall because of insufficient Sherpa clothing. Details vary in different reports but it would seem that certain Austrians stayed rather constantly in the lead, fearing that if the British reached that position, they would never relinquish it. They also accused the British of laziness and of wasting oxygen, while the British felt there was no overall planning and that they were kept from doing what they were capable of. In any case, morale was terrible. Finally after establishing Camp VI at the same point as on the International Expedition in 1971, Kuen and Huber made a half-hearted summit attempt on May 21, from which they returned because of the cold. They reached 27,000 feet, about the same point as Whillans and Haston the year before. The attempt was given up at that time; the three British had quit in disgust five days earlier.

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