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Asia, China, Everest North Face Attempt

Everest North Face Attempt. Our expedition consisted of Todd Bibler, Carlos Buhler, Dana Coffield, Mark Jennings, Douglas Kelley, Andrew Lapkass, Michael Lehner, Sandy Stewart, Ann Whitehouse, Brinton Young and me as leader. We reached 7775 meters in our attempt to make the second ascent of the great couloir on the north face of Everest. Bad weather, avalanche danger and exhaustion delayed and then ended our attempt to place Camp VI and to try for the summit. We got to Base Camp at 5200 meters at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier by jeep and truck on March 19. Camp I at 5675 meters was established a week later and Camps II and III at 6000 and 6150 meters on the main Rongbuk north of the north face by late March. The route from the foot of the face to Camp IV at 7150 meters was obstructed by a bergschrund at the start and made more difficult by 2000 feet of blue ice. Spring conditions differed considerably from the styrofoam-like snow in the fall of 1984 when the Australians made the first direct ascent of the couloir. We spent much time fixing 18 ropes before occupying Camp IV on April 19 and another three weeks putting up Camp V at 7775 meters. After five attempts to establish Camp VI, our permitted time expired and the team turned back, reaching Base Camp on May 24 and Lhasa two days later.

Joseph E. Murphy