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Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri, South Buttress

Dhaulagiri, South Buttress. At 11:30 in the morning of May 10, the long-awaited radio message came from Toshiaki Koyayashi that he and Tatsuji Shigeno were the first two successful climbers of our expedition to reach the summit of Dhaulagiri (26,795 feet). This was our second trial; in 1975 we had attempted the same route but an avalanche had killed two members and three Sherpas at 20,000 feet. The route lies up the buttress at the extreme left of the south face. We set off on February 27 with 450 porters and got to Base Camp at 12,000 feet above the Maryandi Khola on March 11. Camp I was established at 17,000 feet on March 28, Camp II at 19,000 feet on April 7 and Camp III at 21,325 feet on April 17. We were careful to avoid avalanche zones in the lower section. The 800-foot section of rock bands between Camps II and III had tremendous difficulties. Even with wire ladders, only three out of 14 Sherpas could climb this part. A 135-foot rappel was 12 feet away from the wall. On April 21 Katsumi Naganuma was on reconnaissance but he became very weak, tried to climb back to Camp III but died before the doctor could reach him. The climbing was of such great difficulty that his body could not be carried down. We continued and Camp IV was pitched at 23,450 feet on May 3 and Camp V at 24,600 feet on May 5. The final stage of the wall above Camp IV was a vast slab of nearly vertical rock, which was much more difficult than we had thought from distant observation. The first summit party reached the top on May 10. On May 11 Seiji Shimuzu, Yasuji Kato, Hiroshi Yoshino and Sherpa Ang Kami repeated the climb to the summit. The latter used no oxygen. Other members of the party were Takuo Hirai, Yasunori Hirahara, Koichi Mikami, Yoshimasa Sasaki, Dr. Matsuhisa Maeda, Yoshiko Kato and I as leader.

Takashi Amemiya, Japanese Alpine Club