American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Lhotse Attempt

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

Lhotse Attempt. Peter Hillary (New Zealand), Fred From (Australia), Paul Moores (U.K.) and I attempted Lhotse by the normal west-face route. We were sharing the route through the Khumbu Icefall with a large Canadian expedition intent on climbing the South Pillar of Everest. The Canadians fixed the route through the icefall and we were under contract not to enter this section until they had reached Camp I at 19,200 feet. On August 31 and September 2, two separate accidents took the lives of three Sherpas and one Canadian. This threw them into turmoil and they asked permission to change to the South-Col route. Our routes were to be common until 25,600 feet. Our light-weight expedition was to be swamped beneath fixed ropes and Sherpas. Continuing bad weather in early September prevented any progress. On September 16 Camp I was established and Camp II was placed in the Western Cwm at 21,500 feet on the 20th. Camp III was lower than normal at 23,300 feet but we used it rarely because we usually went from Camp II onto the Lhotse Face in order to fix rope. On October 7 we moved up to 26,000 feet and established Camp IV. Our summit try was on October 8. A long traverse rightwards led to the summit gully. At 27,000 feet we were hit by a sudden snowstorm and strong winds. The increasing bad weather forced us to stop and descend. Our expedition did not use oxygen and cost $15,000.

Adrian Burgess, Alpine Climbing Group

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