American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Annapurna Winter Attempt

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

Annapurna Winter Attempt. Our Canadian-American expedition was an unsuccessful attempt to make the second winter ascent of Annapurna by a new route on the eastern end of the south face. We were Ken Reville, Julien Marceau, Steve and Don Adamson, J.C. Laverne, Emilie Seneult, Dan Walsh, Pemba Norbu Sherpa and me. We reached Base Camp on November 15 but could not officially begin climbing until December 1. We spent these first days acclimatizing on Tent Peak (5663 meters, 18,580 feet), sorting gear and reconnoitering Annapurna’s south glacier. On November 20, we established an Advance Base. Our route required going up the center of the glacier to an icefall that gave access to the wall directly below the east ridge of Khangsar Kang or Roc Noir (7485 meters, 24,556 feet), which is part of the east ridge of Annapurna. We then proposed to traverse the east ridge to the summit. Reville, Pemba Norbu and I did most of the climbing, reaching Camp II at 20,000 feet on the wall on December 7. On December 11, we retreated in a storm to Advance Base and the next day to Base Camp. While going down, Reville, Steve Adamson, Laverne and Pemba were avalanched but were able to extract themselves with little trouble. It was decided to abandon the climb because of the weather conditions, diminishing resources and a lack of commitment by most of the members. The difficulties up to the high point were objective dangers in the icefall, 5.6 rock and grade-3 ice.

James Cunningham

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