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Asia, Pakistan, Masherbrum Southwest Attempt

Masherbrum Southwest Attempt. Masherbrum has two summits. The main northeast summit (7821 meters, 25,660 feet) was climbed by the American expedition of 1960 and has not been climbed a second time. Masherbrum Southwest (7806 meters, 25,610 feet) was still unclimbed when we left. The Royal Air Force Mountain Association Expedition consisted of Group Captain Robert J. Honey, Lieutenant Simon Whipple, Chief Technician Rodney A. Fountain, Sergeant Neville Taylor, Corporal Terry Moore, Edward Rogers, Dr. Duncan Gray and me as leader. Our intention was to establish an advance camp on the Dome at 20,000 feet and then to make an alpine-style attempt on the summit via the southeast face. The serious climbing begins at Base Camp at 13,500 feet and goes on for 12,000 feet at Grade III or harder. We reached Base Camp on June 9 in two days from Hushe with 102 low-altitude porters. We followed the 1960 first-ascent route. We got to the Dome quickly, with Camps I, II, III and IV established at 16,000, 17,500, 19,300 and 20,000 feet (on the Dome) on June 13, 16, 21 and 22 respectively. Rogers, Moore, Fountain and Taylor began the summit bid on June 26, establishing Camp V at 21,300 feet and Camp VI on the 28th at 22,200 feet. On June 29 Rogers and Moore occupied Camp VII at 23,400 feet. They were still 2200 feet short of the summit when the weather broke on July 1. After three days of bad weather, they withdrew to Camp V in a lull. Camp VI was lost in an avalanche. The rest of the expedition struggled upward in support. Ted Rogers fell ill with a severe case of cerebral oedema at Camp V and was by July 6 unable to move without help. Fortunately the weather improved by early July 6. With extraordinary efforts by two high-altitude porters and by the expedition members, we evacuated him to Base Camp during three arduous days.

Emlyn J.M. Thomas, Squadron Leader, Royal Air Force