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Asia, Nepal, Lhotse Attempt

Lhotse Attempt. Our expedition of 14 Spaniards and 14 Sherpas began reconnaissance of the Khumbu Icefall on March 22. We were there at the same time as the Polish and Basque expeditions. Our objective was Lhotse by the northwest couloir. We were Jaume Badrenas, Jaume Barnils, Dr. Salvador Cabré, Enric Bonastre, Ramón Majó, Joan Frontera, Franz Ludwig, Jaume Llasera, Xavier Pérez, Fredi Puig, Jordi Selga, Joan and Jordi Vinyoldi and I as leader. We established Camp I on March 30 at 20,000 feet and Camp II on April 4 at 21,325 feet. By April 15 we had Camp III on the Lhotse Face at 24,125 feet and on April 26 the first team to try for the summit spent the night at Camp IV at 25,600 feet. On the 27th high winds and bare ice in the couloir forced them to quit at three P.M. Until then the weather had been excellent, but it changed, piling up snow every afternoon. We were prevented until May 15 from making another try on the couloir. One Sherpa had to retire at the foot of the couloir and a Spaniard had to quit with oxygen-equipment trouble. The other two continued to 27,550 feet until they had exhausted their oxygen at eight P.M., often burrowing waist-deep in the snow. While the four were descending the Yellow Band the next day, an enormous avalanche falling from the couloir swept over them, broke fixed ropes and hurtled Pasang Nima to the bottom of the Lhotse Face. Although he was attended to medically and evacuated to Camp I, he died in the evening of May 17. Camp IV had already been swept away by the avalanche. Two days after Camp III was dismantled, another huge avalanche completely covered the whole area where it had been.

Ricard Cots, Centre Excursionista, Comarca de Bages, Spain