Makalu, Winter Attempt

Author: Ron Rutland. Climb Year: 1981. Publication Year: 1982.

Alan Deakin, David Heap, Bill Ryan, Eric Penman, my wife Linda and I as leader arrived at our Makalu Base Camp at 14,500 feet on November 30. We walked in from Tumlingtar with 26 porters in 12 days with excellent weather, although snow and ice did make the route difficult in places. Base Camp was lower than intended since the porters could not go higher because of the extreme cold. We proposed to climb the original French route up the northwest face. By December 8 we had established Advance Base at 17,500 feet. We adopted a “Super Alpine System” of using only two camps at a time and leap-frogging these to make progress. By December 16 we had a camp at 23,000 feet. The weather stayed good except for extremes of temperature of -50° C and winds up to 100 mph. The extreme conditions, altitude and our fast ascent had taken their toll and on December 20 only my wife and I were physically capable of continuing. After we had reached a high point of 24,000 feet (7315 meters), the expedition was abandoned.

– Ron Rutland, Lancashire Teachers Mountaineering Club, England