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Asia, Nepal, Kanchenjunga, North Face

Kanchenjunga, North Face. Dr. Igor Miko, Ján Piroh, František Dostál, Andrej Belica, Jozef Just, Ján Obuch, Jozef Psotka, Ján Provzník, František Piacek, Jaromír Stejskal, Vlado Tatarka, Peter Valovic, Ludovít Záhoranský, Marián Zat***ko and I as leader made up the Kanchenjunga part of the Slovak expedition. The others went to Jannu. On April 19 we established Base Camp at Pang Pema at 16,900 feet near that of Chris Chandler and Cherie Bremerkamp. In the next three days Camp I was pitched and supplied at 17,050 feet. The team then divided into three working parties. Camp II was established on April 25 at 19,000 feet at the foot of the face below the north col. Kanchenjunga’s north face has three suspended icefields. To reach the first one we had to get through a 650-foot-high ice barrier, very properly called the “Ice Building” by the 1980 Japanese expedition, whose route we basically followed. It took two days to supply Camp II. Then, on the third morning we found the tents of Camp II, as well as Chris’s, buried in 20-feet of avalanche debris. There was no hope of finding our equipment again! Still the only possibility of reaching the first icefield is a gully on the left of the Ice Building, with the continual danger of falling ice. Camp III was pitched on May 5 at the foot of a rock face. To reach it was not only dangerous but also tiring in the deep snow of the first icefield. The rock band between Camps III and IV was the most difficult part of the route. To climb it and fix ropes took two four-man teams twelve days. On May 18 Stejskal, Belica, Obuch and Valovic left Camp IV at 23,950 feet and climbed the rock band dividing the second and third icefields. It was decided to make two attempts for the summit, without artificial oxygen. Psotka and Záhoranský, supported by Just and Zat***ko, climbed to Camp IV on May 18. The next day they reached 25,925 feet and pitched Camp V there. Psotka and Záhoranský got to the summit (8598 meters, 28,208 feet). On May 21 a second party left Camp II for the second attempt, but that same day Radio Nepal transmitted an erroneous warning that the monsoon was approaching. We recalled all remaining parties from the mountain. (We are grateful to Oto Chudý for the translation from Slovak.)

Ivan Gálfy, Horska Slusba, Czechoslovakia