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Asia, Nepal, Makalu, Southeast Ridge to East Face

Makalu, Southeast Ridge to East Face. Our sixteen-member expedition, which included scientists and three reporters, made a new route variation on Makalu. The leader was Ham Tak-Young. Because of customs delays in Calcutta, we did not set out from Tumlingtar until March 16. The advance party reached Base Camp on March 30. On April 2 they set off preparing the route up the icefall and established Camp I at 17,725 feet on the 5th and Camp II at 19,350 feet on the 8th. The main party got to Base Camp on April 10. Camp III was established at 21,925 feet on April 15. We pitched Camp IV at 23,625 feet. Just below the Black Gendarme was a steep, avalanche-prone slope but we managed to set up Camp V at 24,275 feet there. We left the Japanese route there and went out onto the east face. On May 19 we established Camp VI at 25,250 feet on the upper part of the east glacier, chiseled out of the steep ice. Young Ho-Huh and Sherpas Pasang Norbu and Ang Phurba set out at 4:30 A.M. on May 20 and reached the summit (8481 meters, 27,825 feet) at two P.M. They found a plastic toy on top which had been left there in October 1981 by the solo Polish climber Kukuczka. They had climbed the very steep east face directly toward the summit onto mixed terrain and then onto the sharp rocky east ridge. There was a needlelike summit just before the real summit. Young and Ang Phurba used artificial oxygen on the ascent only. On the descent one of the Sherpas slipped and they all fell 350 feet but fortunately no one was injured. Our route was shorter and quicker than the Japanese route. A second summit attempt had to be called off because of bad weather.

Seung Mo Shin, Korean Alpine Club