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Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II, South Spur

Gasherbrum II, South Spur. The French Lyon Expedition was composed of Jean-Pierre Frésafond, leader, and his wife Hélène, Louis Audoubert, Frédéric Bourbousson, Marc Batard, André Chariglione, Jea Dupraz, Jean-Jacques Forrat, Bernard Macho, Dr. Alain Raymond, Jacques Soubis, François Valençot, Bernard Villaret de Chauvigny and me. It took us 16 days from Dasso to reach Base Camp, where we arrived on May 30. On May 31 we reconnoitered the very crevassed glacier which was to take us to Camp I, which we established on June 2. Above, a plateau led to the foot of the south face. We decided on the unclimbed south spur, which involved fixing 5000 feet of rope, starting at 20,000 and ending at 23,625 feet, the length of the spur. Camp II (22,000 feet) was established on the spur on June 9. We continued to prepare the route along the spur. On June 16 Batard, Chariglione and I got to within 500 feet of the top of the spur. On the 17th, each carrying a sleeping bag, Chariglione the food, Batard the tent and I the butane stove and walkie-talkie, we finished fixing the route and got to the top of the spur at 9:30. Chariglione was too fatigued to continue, but Batard and I kept on up to a very cold, foodless bivouac at 25,100 feet; we merely had cold water to drink. In the evening I reconnoitered to a 25,100-foot col on the southeast ridge. Next morning, June 18, at six, we left for the summit, which we reached at nine A.M. That same day Audoubert and Villaret ascended to the bivouac, which we had left set up, while Batard and I descended to Camp II. On the 19th it stormed; Audoubert and Villaret attempted to reach the summit but were forced back to the bivouac. Since it continued to storm on the 20th, they had to descend. Audoubert started down, followed by Villaret. For some inexplicable reason the latter turned around and climbed rapidly back to the bivouac. At the limit of his strength, Audoubert had to continue the descent. The storm went on, worse and worse for eight days. At the end of three, we had to descend from Camp II if we too were not to die. We could not recover Villaret’s body. It took us 19 days from Base Camp to the summit. We had only two high camps. We used neither high- altitude porters nor oxygen. The expedition was chiefly financed by its members.

Yannick Seigneur, Club Alpin Français