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Asia, Nepal, Kangchungtse Ascent and Tragedy

Kangchungtse Ascent and Tragedy. The autumn of 1985 was characterized by long spells of very bad weather. During the approach march we had only one sunny day. We got to Base Camp at 5400 meters on September 24. The first week there was reasonably all right, but the next ten days were terrible: hard winds, mist, snowfall. During this time we established the lower camps so that we could have an “all-or-nothing” summit push starting on October 6. With snowstorms and sometimes complete white-outs, we succeeded in reoccupying Camp III on October 10. One of the two tents there had disappeared in high winds and the other one was almost completely destroyed. After a night in this small tent, on October 11 Wim Teeuwisse, Evert Wesker, Nawang Tille Sherpa and I had enough clear weather to orient ourselves and find the right way to the summit, which we reached in a white-out. We had climbed the normal route over Makalu Col. On October 13 Frank Merjenberg and Ang Pasang had fine weather. On the same day as they reached the summit, the high camps were dismantled and the next day we left Base Camp. Merjenberg and Walter Roos decided to return via Sherpani Col and Amphu Labtsa to Lukla. After one day they were surprised by the start of three days of heavy snowfall in which 2½ meters of snow fell. There has been no trace of them found since. This accident placed our successful expedition under a dark and bitter shadow.

Ronald Naar. Koninklijke Nederlandse Alpen Vereniging