American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Asia, Nepal, Cho Oyu, Southwest Buttress

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

Cho Oyu, Southwest Buttress. A noteworthy accomplishment was a new route on Cho Oyu climbed by Polish climbers from Zakopane led by Ryszard Gajewski. Base Camp was established on April 5 at 5300 meters. They hoped to prepare the Messner variation for descent and established two camps on this route up to 6800 meters. Unfortunately they were turned back by the American expedition which informed against them in Kathmandu. They then moved to their Advance Base to 6000 meters at the foot of the nearly 2000-meters-high southwest buttress and concentrated their efforts on the new route. This ascends the prominent buttress 1.5 kilometers to the right of the Messner route. It is on ice and snow with a 150- to 200-meter-high rock face at 7000 meters, which they climbed directly with UIAA grade III. Three camps were established above Advance Base at 6600, 7100 and 7600 meters. The steeper sections were fixed with 500 meters of rope to facilitate the descent. The new route joins the old Tichy route at 7750 meters. It is not very difficult and relatively safe. In the future it may well become the “normal” route from the southwest. On April 29, starting from Camp III at 7600 meters, Gajewski and Maciej Pawlikowski climbed to the summit. On May 1 Piotr Konopka completed a solo ascent. On May 3 Marek Danielak and Andrzej Osika stood on the highest point. During the descent Danielak fell seriously ill but the rapid efforts of Dr. Lech Korniszewski saved his life. For Pawlikowski this was his second ascent of Cho Oyu, each time by a new route; he was also on the winter ascent of the southeast face.

Józef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland

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