American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Gaurishankar Attempt and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986

Gaurishankar Attempt and Tragedy. After establishing Base Camp at 4200 meters and an Advance Base, two Japanese climbers, the only members of the expedition, reached their high point of 6500 meters on May 2 on the south Face of Gaurishankar just under the southwest ridge. They then descended to Base Camp and began their summit push on May 7. On May 9 they were about at 6100 meters looking for a bivouac site when, at 4:40 P.M., Kensaku Sakai slipped and fell 35 meters, injuring his head, shoulder and chest and shattering his helmet. The pair bivouacked where he stopped falling. The next day they began descending. Apparently Sakai’s head injury was more serious than they had realized and he fell from 5900 meters, this time plunging hundreds of meters out of sight. The surviving member, Tsuyoshi Ooizumi, was unable to find his body and left Base Camp on May 14 after a search.

Michael J. Cheney, Himalayan Club, and Elizabeth Hawley

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