American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Himal Chuli, Attempt from the Southeast

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Himal Chuli. Attempt from the Southeast. We intended to climb Himal Chuli (25,895 feet) via the east ridge, approaching it from the Dordi Khola (south). The team consisted of Dick Jackson, Kevin Beardsley, Dr. Rick St. Onge, Jack Miller, Mike Yager, Stacy Standley and me as leader. We left Kathmandu on September 21 and on the second day out of Dumre, our trailhead, we were crippled by a porter strike, a loathsomely increasing phenomenon on Nepal expeditions. Our approach march took twelve days and Base Camp was established on October 2 at 15,500 feet. The monsoon weather was predictably heavy up until now, but it continued to snow every day throughout the expedition. Camp I was set at 17,000 feet on October 6 on a snow plateau above a heavily crevassed glacier. It was soon moved up to 17,500 feet on a narrow col on a spur of the east ridge. This spur proved to be the undoing of the expedition, as it was a series of loose rock gendarmes that became more treacherous daily as the fresh snow piled up. We hammered away at it for almost two weeks, although for several days we were pinned down by snow. On October 17 after reaching 19,700 feet it was decided that further progress could be made only under unjustifiable risk. At this point we turned our attention to the adjacent south ridge. On October 21 a new Base Camp was established at 15,500 feet beneath the new route, but Miller, Yager and Standley left the expedition. Jackson, Beardsley, St. Onge and I established Camp I at 17,900 feet on October 24, ascending a gun-barrel gully to gain access to the smooth glacier above, but at this point St. Onge had to leave the climb due to an intestinal illness. On October 29 the three of us who remained established Camp II at 20,000 feet trudging up an ever steepening crevasse slope. On Halloween however we elected to go no further due to severe snow conditions and the immense distance yet to be covered.

Skip Horner

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