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Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri

Dhaulagiri. Dhaulagiri was climbed in 1960 for the first time by a Swiss expedition, led by Max Eiselin, by the northeast ridge. Now, 20 years later, Eiselin organized another expedition to the same mountain, open to all experienced mountaineers. I was chosen as leader. On March 21 we—13 Swiss, an American, a German, a Czech and an Austrian—left Pokhara with 240 porters. In three weeks we marched westward to Kusma-Beni and up the Mayangdi valley to Dhaulagiri. We chose this route because the Dambush Pass is still under deep snow at this time of the year. On April 10 we erected Base Camp at the so-called French Camp at 15,100 feet and on April 18 Advanced Base on the northeast col at 18,375 feet. Three further camps were established: Camp I on April 21 at 21,000 feet, Camp II on May 2 at 23,125 feet and Camp III on May 10 at 24,950 feet. After two days of snow and storm, the weather changed and Fritz Luchsinger, Sherpa Ang Rita and I reached the summit (8222 meters, 26,975 feet) after a 5½-hour climb. For Luchsinger, 59 years old, it was his second 8000er, the first being Lhotse in 1956. Dhaulagiri was my fourth mountain over 8000 meters (Lhotse, 1977; Makalu, 1978; Everest, 1979). Thanks to extraordinary weather four further parties reached the summit: 14 of 17 climbers and three Sherpas. They were Josef Buholzer, Hansjörg Müller, Raymond Monnerat, Hans Zimmermann on May 14; Hans Burgstaller, Hans Eitel, Fredi Graf, Marcel Rüedi on May 17; Mike Ballmann, Rolf Bleiker, Mingma, Lakhpa Gyalzen on May 18; and Simon Burkhard, Jean Müller, Ang Rita on May 19.

Hans von Känel, Schweizer Alpen Club