American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Ama Dablam Ascent and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Ama Dablam, Ascent and Tragedy. Our expedition was led by Guido Bu- mann and I was the climbing leader. Other members were Ruth Beck, Lieselotte Schmidt, Maya Senn, Heidi Cadisch, Christoph Jetzler, Fritz Maurer, Max Wettstein, Christoph Häuter, Supersaxo Beat, Jean-Pierre Wagnières, Jean- Pierre Cuerel, Jörg Kindschi, Hans-Peter Reiss, Rudolf Julier and Stephan Welz. From October 22 to 27, fifteen Swiss and sirdar Ang Kami reached the summit. We made the fourth ascent of the north ridge, fixing rope along nearly the whole ridge and pitching two camps, Camp I at 19,350 feet on October 16 and Camp II at 20,675 feet on the 19th. On October 22 the first four reached the summit. In the following five days, eleven more climbers got to the top. Of the five that reached there on October 25, Maya Senn and her companion did not get back to Camp II and had to bivouac. Senn suffered severely frozen hands and her partner had frostbite and a head cut from a fall. The next day he descended to Camp II but two members had to go up to help Senn. On October 27 Maya Senn was to have been brought to Base Camp. Two descended to Base Camp to summon a doctor from the Himalayan Rescue Association at Periche and a helicopter from Namche. The doctor was in Base Camp by that night, but the helicopter was delayed for two days. The evacuation was undertaken by Bu- mann, a guide-aspirant, three Sherpas and me. Toward evening, we reached the end of the fixed ropes. We had an unsecured, 650-foot, easy traverse to the last rappel point above the scree. Maya Senn was being escorted across the traverse, following one of the Sherpas and tied by a short rope to Guido Bumann, who was right behind her. The route went across a 15-foot slab, which had been crossed many times before. After the Sherpa had passed and Maya Senn was on it, the slab fell as Bumann stepped onto it. Both fell 350 feet. Senn was killed outright while Bumann suffered severe head injuries. He was carried to Base Camp where he died the next morning, never having regained consciousness.

Hans Berger, Schweizer Alpen Club

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