Makalu, Winter Attempt. Our expedition consisted of Mario Curnis, my wife Goretta and me as leader, Italians, and Romolo Nottaris, Claudio Zimmermann and Giorgio Senaldi, Swiss. We left Dharan on November 25, 1980 with 147 porters and arrived at Makalu Base Camp at 16,075 feet on December 10. Crossing the Barun La (14,100 feet) might have been difficult with wind and snow, but we crossed in good weather. We chose the whole southeast ridge as our route; this was climbed by Japanese in 1970, though they avoided the first part of the ridge. Camp I was established on December 14 at 19,300 feet at the beginning of the southeast ridge. Camp II was placed on December 20 at 20,750 feet some 35 feet below the ridge crest to avoid the full north wind. Rope was fixed on parts of this rock and loose snow section. Camp III was made on December 30 at 22,300 feet above a snow and ice ridge. From Camp III we descended some 200 feet into a col and went again up the southeast ridge, reaching on January 15 a high point of 23,625 feet. During twelve days straight, snow had fallen, the cold was intense and there was much wind. The climb was given up. We left Base Camp on January 23, having to leave behind almost all equipment except for the indispensable: five days of food, a sleeping bag apiece and a tent for every two. It took six days to reach the first habitation beyond the Barun La.
Renato Casarotto, Club Alpino Italiano