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Asia, China, Shisha Pangma Tragedy and Ascent

Shisha Pangma Tragedy and Ascent. Our 13-person expedition reached Base Camp at 16,400 feet on March 29. Supplies could be jeeped some eight miles further. The rest of the transport to Camp I at 18,700 feet was by yak. We were delayed until April 18 by high winds. Camps II, III and IV were set up with the help of porters at 21,000, 22,300 and 24,125 feet. On April 27 Josef and Marianne Walter, Gerhard Schmatz, Dr. Ulrich Schum, Fritz Luchsinger, Heini Koch and I arrived at Camp IV. The 62-year-old Swiss Luchsinger, who made the first ascent of Lhotse in 1956 and who climbed Dhaulagiri in 1980, was exhausted and given oxygen during the night. He developed pulmonary edema. Koch and I attempted to evacuate him but he died about 500 feet above Camp III. On April 29 the four in Camp IV set out for the summit at about ten A.M., all but Schum without supplementary oxygen. Schmatz reached the summit (8046 meters, 26,400 feet) at four P.M. (There seems to be evidence that Schmatz reached a slightly lower western foresummit, thinking he was on the highest point.—Editor.) Herr and Frau Walter got to the top at seven P.M. As they descended, they met Schum. Sepp Walter returned to the summit with him at 8:15. They were benighted on the descent and reached Camp IV with some frostbite. The descent was also in bad weather.

Sigi Hupfauer, Deutscher Alpenverein