American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Baruntse, East Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1981

Baruntse, East Ridge. Baruntse had been climbed by the Hillary expedition in 1954 by its south ridge. It was unsuccessfully attempted by French and Japanese in 1964. We made the second ascent by a new route, the east ridge. We flew to Tumlingtar and ascended the Arun river to Num, from where we climbed over the 14,275-foot Barun La with three difficult days for the porters on snow. After eleven days of march, we placed Base Camp on April 7 at 17,400 feet on the Barun Glacier, a day above the normal Makalu Base Camp. Camps I, II and III were at 18,375, 19,850 and 21,650 feet. The principal difficulties were above Camp II. We had a 50° to 65° ice slope to reach the east ridge. We continued first up mixed climbing and then ice and snow to pitch Camp III in a small crevasse. From Camp III on it was all snow, some under séracs. We ended the climb on the north ridge, part of which was very airy. On April 27 Javier Escartín, Lorenzo Ortas, the American Carlos Buhler and I left Camp III at two A.M. With a strong wind and sub-zero (F.) temperatures, we overcame the last sérac. Dawn brought better weather. We reached the summit (23,688 feet, 7220 meters) at 1:30 P.M. The next day Gonzalo Prado and the Sherpa Lhakpa Dorji got to the top. That same day after our pair had returned to Camp III, we observed from Camp I two climbers moving up the north ridge. They probably got to the top but as they descended, they suddenly disappeared from about 22,650 feet. They were doubtless the French climbers, who were later missed. On April 27 Dr. José Ramón Morandeira, Juan Manuel Blanchard and the Sherpa Pasang climbed the virgin 20,350-foot peak (Baruntse Shar), situated to the east of Baruntse on our ridge. Our liaison officer developed pulmonary edema and had to be evacuated for a few days to a lower altitude. The leader, Juan José Díaz, fell into a crevasse between Camps I and II and suffered lesions on the thorax.

Jerónimo López, Montañeros de Aragón, Spain

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.