American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest West Ridge Attempt

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

Everest West Ridge Attempt. Our expedition was composed of Lluis Belvis, leader, Emili Civis, Manuel Mateu, Jordi Pons, Jaume Altadill, Oscar Cadiach, Narcis Serrat, Alfons Valls, Jordi Sugranyes, Xáxier Pérez Gil, Lluis Hortala, Josep Vidal Ponce, Antoni Llasera, Josep Casanovas, Francesc Sabat, Joan Ribas and me. The first group got to Base Camp on August 11. We reconnoitered and fixed ropes up the spur leading to the Lho La, following the Yugoslav route of 1979. We built an aerial tramway with a 5mm carrying cable, a 4mm traction cable, a 3-meter tower and a winch. This served between 19,000 feet and the Lho La at 19,850 feet and raised in all five tons to the Lho La. Early on September 7 we heard a terrific avalanche. A huge rock tower had crumbled and destroyed the final 650 feet of ropes and ladders of the route to the Lho La. The aerial tramway was not damaged. We found a new and easier route right of the Yugoslav one. On September 17 we established Camp II at 22,150 feet. The beginning of the route above Camp I was steep and we fixed ladders on an iced wall. On September 21 we placed Camp III at 23,450 feet near the top of the west shoulder. On September 27 we received word that Sherpa Lhakpa Tsering had died from a stomach perforation. This stopped progress while his body was evacuated and cremated. Camp IV was 1½ miles from, but only 1150 feet above, Camp III. Finally on October 6 four members slept there at 24,600 feet. Camp V was occupied at 26,575 feet on October 13 by Cadiach, Gil and Sherpa Nima Dorje. It was so cold (—45°C) that on the 14th their headlamps would not work and they had to wait until four A.M. to set out with oxygen in a cruel wind. At midday they reached 27,900 feet but realized they could not reach the summit that day. While Cadiach and Gil made a snow hole to leave their oxygen cylinders, Nima Dorje started the descent. While out of sight of our two top climbers but in the sight of members in Camp I, Nima Dorje slipped and fell down the north side to his death on the Rongbuk Glacier. With continuing strong winds, it was decided to abandon the attempt.

Josep Manuel Anglada, Centre Excursionista de Catalunya, Spain

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