American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Lhotse, South Face Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

Lhotse, South Face Attempt. A very strong Italian national expedition failed to climb the south face of Lhotse. The leader was Riccardo Cassin and members were Ignazio Piussi, Reinhold Messner, Franco Gugiatti, Gigi Alippi, Sereno Barbacetto, Aldo Leviti, Mario Curnis, Giuseppe Alippi, Mario Conti, Alessandro Gogna, Gianni Arcari, Fausto Lorenzi, Dr. Franco Chierego and Aldino Anghileri. Before the end of the attempt Dr. Chierego had to be evacuated with cerebral edema and Anghileri left for personal reasons. Almost immediately after arrival at their 17,400-foot Base Camp in late March, they decided against the avalanche-swept direct route and followed the route attempted by the Japanese in 1973 on the far left of the face. The route to Camp I (19,350 feet) was mixed snow and ice of not very great difficulty. From Camp I to Camp II, established on April 11 at 21,650 feet, the climbing was extraordinarily hard with vertical rock and 70° ice. The route to Camp III was somewhat easier, principally ice. This camp was established at 23,625 feet on April 16. On May 6 Barbacetto and Gogna slabbed diagonally left and reached a spot just below the southwest ridge at 24,600 feet, a site for Camp IV. This highest point reached was still more than 3300 feet short of the summit. The rest of the route would have followed just below the ridge and up the Swiss route of 1956. The expedition was plagued by bad weather and avalanches. On April 20 two avalanches partially destroyed Base Camp, injuring four Sherpas. Barbacetto and Leviti were nearly buried by an avalanche in Camp III.

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