American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Pumori, South Face Solo Winter Ascent

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

Pumori, South Face Solo Winter Ascent. Earl Wiggins and I had hoped to climb the south face of Pumori in winter, doing it for the first time alpine-style. We established Base Camp at 17,500 feet below the face. During the second night in camp, Wiggins developed a life-threatening case of high-altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema, which dictated evacuation to a lower altitude. After escorting him to the lower villages, I returned to Base Camp on December 12, determined to make the climb alone. On December 15,I bivouacked at 18,000 feet at the beginning of the route. The next day, I climbed in six hours to a hanging bivouac at 20,500 feet in a Bat Tent. A difficult 300-foot-high rock band required several hours to climb on the morning of December 17.I climbed another 800 feet of steep ice that day to bivouac in a natural ice cave at 21,600 feet. On December 18 I encountered another vertical rock-and-ice band above 22,000 feet. From there to the summit (7161 meters, 23,494 feet) there were moderately steep slopes of wind-packed snow. I arrived on top at 4:30 P.M. A nearly full moon lit my way back to the ice cave, which I got to at midnight. I finished the arduous descent the next day.

Jeff Lowe

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