American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, China, Changtse, Illegal Ascent to Northeast Summit

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

Changtse, Illegal Ascent to Northeast Summit. Early in the Everest expedition I suffered an attack of high-altitude sickness and returned to Base Camp. Despite a rapid recovery, our doctor recommended that I not go high again. Having disregarded this, I was ordered by the expedition leader to remain in Base Camp. However, feeling recuperated, on May 12 and 13 I reascended to Camp II at 20,000 feet. I set off alone at 3:30 A.M. on May 14 and at eight reached the base of the 3-mile-long northeast ridge at 22,300 feet. In spite of the cornices, shortly after noon I got to the base of the summit pyramid. At 3:30 I was 35 feet below the top. Waste-deep powder snow on a 70° slope separated me from the summit. As I stepped onto the snow, it slumped some 15 feet and threatened to avalanche. I found a better route 150 feet to the right on the north face and at five P.M. I reached the summit (7550 meters, 24,771 feet). [This was the route followed by the Germans who made the first ascent in 1982. See A.A.J., 1983, page 294.—Editor.] At eleven P.M. I was back in Camp II exhausted. Because the ascent was illegal, I have been expelled from the Fede- raciön de Andinismo de Chile.

Gino Casassa, Chilean Section of the Club Andino Italiano

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