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Asia, Nepal, Api, South Face Attempt

Api, South Face Attempt. Our 12-man (British) Army Mountaineering Association expedition was driven from Kathmandu to Dandeldhura. The new mountain road from Dangadhi to Dandeldhura is easily passable by jeep; a jeep track from Dandeldhura to Baitadi is nearly completed. It took 15 days to walk from Dandeldhura to Base Camp at 13,500 feet at the foot of the south face of Api (7132 meters, 23,399 feet). The route followed roughly along a difficult ridge in the face to Camp III. The principal difficulty was a 250-foot gendarme halfway to Camp II, which we climbed on the west side. The ice nose above Camp III to gain the second glacier was steep ice; the slopes of the ramp to the third glacier was 55° ice. The summit slopes were 50° ice, rotten in the upper section and covered with unstable powder snow. Above Camp III the route was threatened by powder-snow avalanches. Camps I, II, III and IV were placed at 16,700, 18,500, 20,400 and 21,800 feet on April 1, 16, 22 and 29 respectively. We fixed 10,000 feet of rope. Major M.G. LeG. Bridges and Sergeant J.L. Arthy on the first summit attempt were caught in Camp IV by a heavy snowstorm and their camp, sheltered in the bergschrund, was shot over by many avalanches. After a day and night of this, followed by a rest day, they started out at one A.M. on May 1. After three hours of wading up the upper glacier, they followed a low rib, protected from the continual snow slides. At ten A.M., 400 feet from the top, they turned back because of the poor ice, the dangerous snow, fatigue and Arthy’s frostbitten hands. On May 2 Captain A.J.N. Simkins and Corporal J.R.F. Walsh on a second try were caught at the foot of the upper slopes by a severe thunderstorm. It was decided to evacuate the mountain.

Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw, Major, Scottish Infantry