American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest Attempt and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

Everest Attempt and Tragedy. I led an international group of 25 to try the normal route on Mount Everest. Aside from our climbing objectives, we had three physicians who carried out high-altitude medical research. Because the weather was so good at the beginning, we got to Base Camp before September 1, when we could start to set up high camps. The fine weather continued so that by September 9 we had already established Camp III on the Lhotse Face at 7400 meters. Then the weather turned sour. It was hard work to fix rope and break trail to the South Col. On September 25 at 4:30 P.M., French guide Serge Koenig, Chuldim Dorje Sherpa and I reached the south summit from Camp IV on the South Col. There was deep new snow and above it was double-corniced. We had to turn back. Two days later, three Swiss, Dr. Simon Burkhard, Raymond Monnerat and Peter Weber were stopped by bad weather at 8600 meters. Theyspent a stormy night on the South Col, hoping for good enough weather to make another attempt but had to start down the next morning. Dr. Burkhard was killed on the Lhotse Face in an avalanche as they descended. On October 4, Gayalu Sherpa was buried under falling séracs in the Khumbu Icefall. Although there were further carries to the South Col, we had to abandon the expedition on October 14.

Fredy Graf, Schweizer Alpen Club

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