American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Makalu Attempt and Baruntse

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1983

Makalu Attempt and Baruntse. Our expedition reached Base Camp at 16,075 feet on September 8 after a 10-day approach. We placed Advance Base at 17,400 feet on September 17. The Makalu group, Jean Troillet, Yves Rausis and I, had hoped to climb the difficult west-buttress route of the French in alpine style, while Claudio Righeschi, Rudolf Homberger, Marie Hiroz, Patrizia Barbuiani, Patrizia Riva and Vreni Kull climbed Baruntse. We worked our route on Makalu’s west buttress up to 24,275 feet, where the greatest difficulties begin. On October 4 we three set out from Base Camp for a final push on the route, but on the 6th Rausis’ health made him decide to give up the attempt. With only two climbers, one leading without a pack and the other hauling everything, it was obvious that we could not continue. Troillet and I decided to try a new route on Makalu’s west face on the left edge, both being well acclimatized. On October 13 we left Base Camp for Advance Base. From there, with three bivouacs, we reached the north ridge where we bivouacked at 25,425 feet on the night of October 16. On the 17th we continued along the north ridge in bad weather to 26,250 feet, where we joined Kukuczka’s route. Troillet waited there while I kept on alone to 26,900 feet, some 900 feet below the summit. We descended to 25,250 feet to bivouac. The weather on October 18 was worse and we descended Kukuczka’s route to 21,000 feet. We reached Base Camp on the 19th. Meanwhile the group on Baruntse had been successful. Homberger reached the summit (7220 meters, 23,688 feet) on October 2 alpine style. The route on the south ridge was mostly without notable difficulties except for a traverse of 650 feet at 22,650 feet, which had 60° ice. On October 9 Marie Hiroz and Claudio Righeschi also reached the summit.

Romolo Nottaris, Club Alpino Svizzero

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