American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Asia, China, Anye Maqen Attempt

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

Anye Maqen Attempt. Late August found our group of eight American climbers, Karl Gerdes, Jerry Tinling, Tony Watkin, John Byrne, Bruce McCubbery, Jay McCubbery, Rich Henke, and me winding our way toward Anye Maqen through the high pasture lands of the Tibetan plateau. We spent much of our time exchanging pleasantries with the nomadic Tibetan families we passed, drinking a hard white liquor in their huge Yak hair tents where the customs included checking all guns at the door as you entered. Base Camp was established at 4175 meters, on the wrong side of a river that in the late afternoon became almost unfordable due to glacial melt. This led to some adventurous crossings and bareback yak riding, with Bruce taking the only real dunking. With time short, we quickly established a high camp below the ridge first climbed by Galen Rowell and party several years ago. (A.A.J., 1982, pages 88-92.) Six of us then reached a wind-swept ridge at 5500 meters and spent a long night holding down the tents against a storm that lasted well into the next day. Late in the afternoon Karl Gerdes, Rich Henke, and I crossed a short corniced arête to establish a bivouac in a crevasse just below the face leading to the summit plateau. Morning dawned clear, but by noon Rich and Karl were pinned down by a lightning storm at 5800 meters, and retreated. This was to be our high point, as storms continued for the next two days. One last rodeo-ride river crossing, and we began the long trip home.

Brock A. Wagstaff

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