American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Lhotse Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1975

Lhotse Attempt. A 16-member Polish expedition, led by Andrzej Zawada, attempted Lhotse (27,890 feet) by its northwest face from the Western Cwm of Everest. They reached 27,000 feet on Christmas Day from Camp IV which had been established at 25,600 feet on December 12. On December 17 Stanislaw Latallow, the expedition photographer, died of exposure and exhaustion while descending from Camp III (23,450 feet) in a severe storm. This is the first expedition to come to the Nepal Himalaya with the express intention of climbing the highest peaks during the winter. They requested permission to climb Mount Everest after climbing Lhotse, but His Majesty’s Government was unable to grant the extension and instructed them to return at the end of December. The main reason for the expedition’s failure was constant, very high, very cold wind. They were not hampered by heavy snowfalls. Although December was exceptionally cold, with heavy snowfalls in central Nepal, Khumbu did not seem to suffer exceptionally bad weather, except that winds were worse than usual down to 13,000 and 14,000 feet. Whether the winds at higher altitudes, winds that made movement impossible at times, were average for the time of year, or worse, is hard to say. The expedition reported that the icefall was difficult and in bad condition in December.

Michael Cheney, Himalayan Club

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