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Asia, China, Everest, Attempt to Traverse the Peak by the West and Northeast Ridges

Everest, Attempt to Traverse the Peak by the West and Northeast Ridges. On September 7, Frenchmen Jean Afanassieff, Bernard Prud’homme, Louis-Paul Chantelat, Eric Escoffier, Dr. Jean-Louis Etienne, Xavier Fargeas, Bruno Gal- let, Serge König, American Tom Hargis and I, Swiss, left Paris. We joined co-leaders Yannick Seigneur and Patrick Barthe in Beijing. On September 15 we were at Base Camp on the Rongbuk Glacier at 17,050 feet. Camp I was placed on the Rongbuk at 18,375 feet and Camp II at the foot of the west ridge of Changtse at 19,200 feet. On cross-country skis we crossed the glacier to the base of the north spur of the shoulder of the west ridge. On the spur we placed 6500 feet of rope to avoid the risk of windslabs. We made our summit attempts from Camp II without higher camps or supplementary oxygen. Seigneur, König, Gallet and Fargeas made the first summit try from October 8 to 13 but were forced back from 26,900 feet in the Hornbein Couloir by snowfall and cold; they had some frostbite. On October 14 Escoffier and I set out. We bivouacked at 23,300, 24,950 and two nights at 26,900 feet in the couloir. Our tent was destroyed by wind and we gave up after a day of waiting. At 23,000 feet we met Seigneur, König and Gallet who climbed to 25,600 feet before being repulsed by the cold. On October 22 we gave up the expedition.

Stéphane Schaffter, Club Alpin Suisse