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Asia, Nepal, Makalu II Attempt

Makalu II Attempt. On our way to attempt Makalu II’s northwest ridge one of the loads containing the expedition’s ice tools fell into the Arun River, never to be seen again. One member raced back to Kathmandu to replace the lost equipment. After five days we were on the road again. On the series of three high passes that lead into the upper Barun valley, we encountered very heavy snow on the ground and daily snowfall up to three feet. This proved most difficult for our porters, who all but gave up on our final day of crossing the passes. We reached Base Camp on March 20. We spent two weeks in Base Camp, acclimatizing, exploring the area and organizing for the climb. The site of Advance Base was scouted and established at 17,500 feet on April 7. During the final carry to Advance Base, I suffered a badly twisted ankle, which put me out of the climb. Hanson, Mike Hill and Jim Frush continued the push. Camp I was established at 19,650 feet under the northwest col on April 10. The weather was cold with clear mornings but continual high winds. Then a five-day storm with heavy snow and high winds stopped all movement on the mountain. On April 17, due to dangerous snow conditions, high winds and bad weather, we decided to abandon our attempt on Makalu II after reaching 21,000 feet on April 13.

John Mueller, Mountaineers, Seattle