American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Churen Himal Tragedy

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

Churen Himal Tragedy. On September 14, a 15-man German Alpine Club (DAV) expedition led by Gustav Harder began its approach. The purpose was to train experienced climbers from the Alps to climb in the great mountains of the world. The south ridge of Churen Himal seemed objectively so dangerous that they hoped to reach the upper part at 7000 meters via the southwest face. Three camps were set up. On October 9 the lead climbers fixed rope to 6800 meters. They returned to Camp III at 5800 meters where they were pinned for several days by a severe storm. On October 12 a three-foot-thick windslab broke loose just above them. Herbert Jans, who happened to be out of the tent, was dragged 200 meters down the slope. He freed himself and climbed back up to release Dieter Elsner, Christoph Kruis, Thomas Höss, Walter Fichter and Uwe Schmidt. However, Hans-Peter Hamm and Christoph Hawlitschek were dug out dead. The survivors could not find boots or clothing but managed to descend despite the deep snow and avalanche danger. All suffered frostbite.

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