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Asia, Nepal, Annapurna I Tragedy

Annapurna I Tragedy. A strong Italian expedition was composed of Guido Machetto, leader, AAC member Alessandro Gogna, Carmelo Di Pietri, Gianni Calgagno, Miller Rava, Leo Cerruti, Carlo Zonta, Rino Prina, Angelo Nerli, Lorenzo Pomodoro and Vasco Taldo. After leaving Pokhara on August 21, they installed Base Camp at 14,275 feet on September 1. In the next week, following the route taken by the French first-ascent party in 1950, they established Camps I and II at 16,750 and 18,875 feet. From there the Italians were to try a new route, the northwest spur. On September 18 they placed Camp III at 20,675 feet and on the 21st Camp IV at 22,650 feet. The lead climbers pushed ahead on very difficult terrain towards a rock step and reached the height of 23,125 feet on September 23. Snowstorms drove them out of all high camps on the 24th but Rava and Cerruti decided to stick it out at Camp II, well over a half-mile from the wall on the plateau. On the night of the 26th a colossal ice and rock avalanche, which had started from an altitude of over 24,000 feet, swept over the plateau. No sign of the climbers or of Camp II remained. The expedition was abandoned.