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Asia, Nepal, Kangchungtse

Kangchungtse, Northwest Ridge Attempt and Tragedy. The seven climbers were Wally Berg, Bruce Hunter, Jerry Longbons, Edwin Terrell, Ken Madden, Dr. Gary Ruggera and I. We began the long approach from Hille on March 18 with our Nepalese staff of eight and 70 porters. By the time we arrived at Makalu Base Camp at 16,100 feet on March 31, most of us had suffered one type of intestinal disorder or another. Advance Base at 18,100 feet was established on April 4 and Camp I at 19,560 feet on April 9. On April 11, after carrying to the site of Camp II at 21,400 feet, Edwin Terrell returned to Camp I looking more exhausted than was expected of him. Dr. Ruggera monitored him closely and at midnight, after hearing faint rales in his chest for the first time, mobilized the camp to escort him down to Advance Base in the night. With the help of Madden, Longbons and Ruggera, Terrell arrived at Advance Base six hours later. In the afternoon he suddenly became worse and a second tedious descent toward Makalu Base began. By nightfall, Ruggera, kitchen boy Kamie and I had managed to descend another 1000 feet with Terrell when we were forced to bivouac, sending Kamie ahead to Base Camp for more help. He had been carried another half-mile the next morning when he died of pulmonary edema, perhaps complicated by a virus contracted during the approach. Our high point of 22,000 feet was reached by Longbons and Ruggera on April 20 and the attempt was abandoned on April 21.

Glenn Fortner