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Asia, Nepal, Chamlang East Attempt

Chamlang East Attempt. Jon Deak and I, one of four regular members and founder and life president respectively of the Juilliard Mountain Club (and both professional double bass players), set up “Bass” Camp near the lower Barun Glacier in mid May. To reach our high camp was wild and dangerous with two major avalanche tracks to cross and falling rocks to dodge. Easy scrambling turned into gripping, exposed free climbing when wet gloppy snow fell in the afternoon as it invariably did after we had left the ropes in the cache above. We had all our stuff at 18,500 feet after a week and set out on April 30 up the north face. We think we were to the left of Doug Scott’s route as we went up a snow gully that topped out with a few pitches of vertical, snow-covered, frozen rock and a little steep ice. We gained the ridge well to the left of the saddle. After bivouacking in a small crevasse at 22,000 feet for 36 hours, we headed for the summit on May 2. At dawn a major storm appeared when we were level with the saddle at 22,500 feet but on the east side of the horn. We retreated to Camp I in the storm. After waiting a couple of days there, we went back to Bass Camp. Jon’s toes, frostbitten in the bivouac, became terribly painful. We gave up thoughts of another summit attempt, retrieved our high camp and walked out to Tumlingtar despite the intense pain Jon was suffering. After this stimulating sight-reading, we shall probably go back to try for a complete performance on this spectacular mountain.

Richard (Dobbs) Hartshorne