American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Makalu Winter Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Makalu Winter Attempt. Our expedition was composed of Poles Andrzej Machnik, leader, Grzegorz Fliegel, Julian Kobowicz, Wojciech Jedlinski, Zbigniew Terlikowski and Dr. Krzysztof Witkowski, Thomaz Brandolin of Brazil and me from the United States. Our objective was the winter ascent of Makalu via a variation of the northwest ridge. We arrived at Base Camp at 4850 meters on December 8, having left Kathmandu on November 24. Jedlinski, Machnik, Terlikowski and I established Advance Base on December 10 at the mouth of the Chago Glacier at 5200 meters. We then placed Camps I, II and III at 5820, 6430 and 6850 meters on December 16, 20 and 31, the latter two being snow caves. Then attrition and illness took their toll, leaving only Machnik, Terlikowski and me to stock the higher camps and fix the route to Makalu La. Brandolin was the only other climber to reach Camp III in January. Dangerously high winds kept us below Makalu La until January 19, 1988, when I alone reached 7500 meters while trying to site Camp IV. I recorded -15° F with winds in excess of 60 mph. The consistently severe weather and fatigue led us to abandon our attempt on January 21, after 44 days. Machnik, Terlikowski and I cleaned the mountain to Advance Base unassisted by January 25.

Andrew Evans

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