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Asia, China, Mount Everest, Solo, by the Great Couloir

Mount Everest, Solo, by the Great Couloir. From the Tibetan side on August 20 at three P.M. Reinhold Messner became the first person to make the entire ascent of Mount Everest solo and the second non-Sherpa to climb the mountain by two different routes. (Yasuo Kato beat him by only a few months.) He made the climb in only three days without oxygen and during the monsoon. After a six-week acclimatizing period, he and his Canadian girl friend, Nena Ritchie, ascended from 16,750-foot Base Camp to Advanced Base at 21,325 feet. Two weeks of relatively good weather with high winds had reduced the new snow on the peak. On August 18 he set out at five A.M. with a 33-pound pack, which included a three-pound tent. Despite falling into a crevasse, he reached the North Col at nine A.M. and continued on to camp at 25,600 feet. From there he left the northeast ridge and crossed to the Great Couloir, where in 1924 Norton had reached an altitude of 28,125 feet. Although the weather seemed to be worsening, he got to a point some 200 feet left of the couloir at 27,000 feet, where at three P.M. he bivouacked, too tired to remove his boots. On the 20th he climbed with only ice-ax and camera. He ascended the couloir and joined the northeast ridge near where vertical rock (the Second Step?) barred the route. He turned this on the left and went on to the summit. The descent took him 20 hours.