Pumori Ascent and Tragedy. Dan Fox, Rich Pierce, Richard Wilson, Kevin Murray, John Taylor and I wanted to make the winter ascent of the south ridge of Pumori. Andy Randall was Base Camp manager. We lost Taylor and Murray to illnesses before reaching Base Camp. Taylor returned to the U.S. but Murray could rejoin us later. We established Base Camp on December 1 and Camp I at 18,500 feet on December 4. Camp II at 20,210 feet was occupied on the 7th by Wilson and Pierce who spent the 8th fixing the two rock towers just above 20,000 feet. December 9 found five of us (Murray had arrived at Camp I on the 7th) conferring atop the ridge. Fox and I had decided to return to Base, both affected by violent coughing spells. Murray was not sufficiently acclimatized and returned to Base as well. Wilson and Pierce went on alpine-style and climbed to their first bivouac at 21,000 feet on the 10th and their second at 21,800 feet on the 11th. On December 12 they established a bivouac at 22,900 feet, possibly without sleeping bags. They reached the summit at ten A.M. on December 13 in high winds. After ten minutes on top, they descended to their last bivouac site on a rock outcrop 500 feet below the summit. We never saw them again. We can only assume that they had been overcome by the cold due to prolonged exposure.
Steven G. Jorgenson, Unaffiliated