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Asia, Nepal, Lhotse Shar Ascent and Tragedy

Lhotse Shar Ascent and Tragedy. A large Swiss expedition comprising six climbers, doctor, cook, two photographers and five research workers from the Department of Physiology at Geneva University planned to spend three months in the Lhotse area. The leader, Joseph Fauchère, had attempted Lhotse’s east ridge in 1978 and it was hoped to repeat this attempt to the top of Lhotse Shar and to continue along the one-kilometer- long unclimbed rock ridge leading over the two central summits to the main summit of Lhotse. The party set up its base south of Lhotse at 17,000 feet on September 16. Four camps were built along the east ridge with the help of Sherpas and the route was secured with fixed ropes. The climbers used oxygen equipment. At 4:30 A.M. on October 16 four Swiss and two Sherpas left Camp IV at 23,450 feet for the summit. At two P.M. at 26,750 feet Philippe Petten and Pierre Favez with the Sherpas Pasang Rita and Ang Tsering decided to turn back. At 4:45 P.M. Jean Hauser and Daniel Bruchez reached the top of Lhotse Shar (8383 meters, 27,504 feet). This was the second ascent by the Austrian route of 1970. The two descended to Camp IV and on October 17 descended to Camp III, where they found only the Sherpas. The bodies of Petten and Favez were seen two days later on the southwest face but could not be recovered owing to the dangerous nature of the face. The expedition left Base Camp for home on October 24. Two days later, Joseph Fauchère died as a result of a fall on the walk back.

Trevor Braham, Himalayan Club