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Asia, Nepal, Cho Oyu, South Face Winter Attempt

Cho Oyu, South Face Winter Attempt. Reinhold Messner, Friedl Mutschlechner, Paul Hanny, Hans Kammerlander and Peter Eisendle, South Tiro- lean Italians, Wojciech Kurtyka, Polish, and I, Austrian, were accompanied to Base Camp by four women, a writer and a painter. We flew to Lukla on November 8 and acclimatized on trekking peaks. On November 27 we set up Base Camp at 16,750 feet above Gokyo. We had four experienced Sherpas. We started up Cho Oyu’s south face on December 1, the official opening of the winter season. From 17,400 to 19,700 feet, we climbed the broken icefall on the right of the face. We were helped by the Korean fixed ropes, which they had used to climb Ngozumba Kang. We placed Camp I at 20,000 feet at the top of the icefall on December 2. Camp II was established on December 6 at 21,825 feet at the beginning of the second upswing. Between Camps I and II was a wind-swept, crevassed ice plateau. From December 10 to 18 we climbed the often dangerous and extremely difficult ice face, which rises from Camp II to 24,600 feet. The chief problem was a 70° to 80° ice buttress in the last 1000 feet. We found fixed ropes from the Koblmüller-Furtner first ascent of the face in 1978. The ice was extraordinarily hard, making the placement of ice screws difficult; it was covered by rotten snow. Messner, Kammerlander and Sherpa Ang Dorje on December 18 reached the top of this ice pillar. The plateau would have been easy up to the final 250 feet, but it was covered by hip- and chest-deep powder snow. They could not advance and also feared avalanches. By December 21 all climbers and equipment were back in Base Camp.

Oswald Ölz, Österreichischer Alpenverein