Qomolungma (Everest) Reconnaissance. Our objective during April was to take stock of the technical and material problems we would have to solve for the expedition of our military high-mountain group to Qomolungma (Everest) in the spring of 1981 and especially to determine by what route we would try to reach the summit. The Tibetan slopes of the mountain water two valleys, the Kama and the Rongbuk, which drain into the Arun in Nepal. The Kama valley gives access to the east face and the Kangchung Glacier. The Rongbuk allows approaches to the northeast slopes and the northwest face. From Lhasa we traveled to Karta by truck and jeep. To reach the lush Kama valley and the east face we then had to cross the 16,000-foot Shago La, still under deep snow, two difficult days on foot. The 10,000-foot-high east face is majestic. Its ascent would not be so much technically difficult as doubtful because of avalanche dangers. The Rongbuk valley is a contrast because of its aridity. Vehicles may reach 17,000 feet. This was the route of the British expeditions before the second World War, and climbed successfully by the Chinese and, while we were there, by the Japanese. By that route we shall attempt to reach the summit next spring.
Jean-Claude Marmier, Captain, French Army