American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Mount Everest, New Route on Southwest Face

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

Mount Everest, New Route on Southwest Face. The objective of the expedition was to climb Mount Everest by a new route on the southwest face to the left of the Bonington Couloir. The expedition consisted of 25 members: 17 climbers, camera crew, a doctor, a radio man. The leader was the well known Soviet climber, Evgeny Tamm. Base Camp was established by an advance group on March 16 at the traditional place, the Khumbu Glacier. By March 21 when the main party arrived at Base Camp, the route through the Khumbu Icefall had been prepared by the same group of five members led by the senior coach of the expedition, A. Ovchinnikov. Camps I (at the foot of the face), II, III, and IV were established at 21,325, 23,800, 25,750 and 27,050 feet on March 25, April 1, 10 and 22 respectively. Placing camps and preparing the route were carried out by the climbers. Ten high-altitude Sherpas led by Sirdar Pemba Norbu managed to carry loads to Camp II. Camp III was reached by only two of them. The strongest, Nawang, made an attempt to join the advanced group of climbers but had to give up because of the technical complications of the route. The route between Camps II and V is rated at 5 difficulty (Soviet classification). The most difficult stretch was the approach to Camp IV. Having established Camp IV, all climbers descended for rest to the Thyangboche Monastery. On April 27 Eduard Myslovsky and Vladimir Balyberdin set out from Base Camp to prepare the route above Camp IV. On May 3 they placed Camp V at 27,900 feet, 150 feet below the west ridge. On May 4 these two set out from Camp V and reached the summit at 2:35 P.M. Balyberdin did not use oxygen while climbing. While descending from the top, they were met by Sergei Bershov and Mikhail Turkevich, who were waiting for them with spare oxygen cylinders. Having left the oxygen, Bershov and Turkevich went on and reached the summit at 10:25 P.M. As they descended, they caught up with Myslovsky and Balyberdin and helped them to reach Camp V, which they all reached at six A.M. on May 5. On May 5 Valentin Ivanov and Sergei Ephimov got to the summit. On May 7 Kazbek Valiev and V. Khrishchaty attempted to reach the top from Camp V but were turned back by violent wind. Their second attempt was made in the evening when the weather seemed to be improving. They reached the summit on May 8 at 1:45 A.M. The last group of climbers consisted of Yuri Golodov, Vladimir Puchkov and Valery Khomutov, who got to the summit on May 9 at 11:30 A.M. Thus a total of eleven Soviet mountaineers climbed Mount Everest by the most difficult route ever ascended by Everest climbers.

USSR Sports Committee

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