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Asia, Nepal, Nuptse, North Face Attempt

Nuptse, North Face Attempt. We aimed to climb the north face of Nuptse (25,850 feet) from the Western Cwm without Sherpa support and without the use of fixed ropes. A few weeks before departure, a team experienced in light-weight expeditioning emerged, consisting of Michael Covington, USA, and Joe Tasker and me, England. On September 3, with 22 porters, we began the 180-mile approach march from the road- head at Lamasangu to the Everest Base Camp. Tasker and I reached Base Camp on September 23 to find the German-French Everest expedition well established. Covington unfortunately succumbed to hypothermia and mild pneumonia and had to stay at Pheriche to recover. He arrived at Base Camp on September 26, his pneumonia over but with a severe pain over his liver area which was to trouble him for most of the expedition. On September 28 Tasker and I established Camp II in the Western Cwm, a mile from the German-French Camp II and opposite the north buttress of Nuptse. Thus far we had been following the Everest expedition route and were enormously helped by their progress. The north face of Nuptse was plastered in fresh snow. More fell on October 1 and started again on the 4th continuing for three days, during which eight feet of snow fell on Camp I where all three of us were camped. On October 9, we three arrived at Camp II with enough food and equipment to spend seven days on the face. On October 10 Tasker and I set out on the lower part of the face. At first there were grounds for optimism as we found hard snow and ice patches, allowing for rapid progress, but this soon deteriorated into soft, waist-deep snow covering steep rock. It took 5½ hours to gain 500 feet and with deeper snow ahead and 5000 feet to go, the attempt was given up at 22,500 feet.

Douglas Scott, Alpine Climbing Group