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Asia, Nepal, Annapurna III, Southwest Face Attempt

Annapurna III, Southwest Face Attempt. Our expedition was made up of Guillem Arías, leader, Manuel Benavent, Josep Fuste, Joan Oliva, Dr. Anton Rañe and me. We left Pokhara on September 17. We prepared the route with fixed rope beyond Machapuchare Base Camp up the Modi Khola gorge on September 22 and moved up to our Base Camp on the 23rd. The fixed rope was needed for the porters in this section. We established Camp I at 14,600 feet on September 25 on the true right bank of the Modi Khola. We placed Camp II at 15,750 feet just below the rock buttress on the true right side of the glacier that descends from the Gangapuma-Annapurna III col on September 27. On October 3 we sited Camp III at 18,175 feet on the snow ridge above the rock buttress. This part of the route had difficult rock climbing. We climbed the lower part of the glacier close to the buttress wall to where the glacier became heavily crevassed. Unlike the Japanese women in 1970 and the Italians in 1977, who kept up the glacier, a dangerous route, we climbed the buttress, fixing rope and climbing rock of UIAA IV to V + difficulty. We found some of the rope of the 1978 American expedition. Camp III was above a steep couloir that led to the snow ridge. Camp IV was placed at 19,900 feet on October 6, some 1250 feet below the bergschrund of the Gangapuma-Annapuma III col. Rising from 18,700 feet we saw the great unclimbed central couloir of the southwest face, which leads directly to the summit and would be an ideal climb. On October 7 we climbed to the col. The snow was in bad condition and we eventually reached 21,325 feet. The snow was so bad that we realized we could not reach the summit in less than ten days. We had to give up the ascent for lack of time.

Xavier Noguer, Catalonia, Spain