Annapurna South Face Ascent and Tragedy. On December 20, Noboru Yamada, Yasuhira Saito, Teruo Saegusa and Toshiyuki Kobayashi reached the summit of Annapurna, completing the first winter ascent of the south face and the first ascent of the mountain by Japanese in the winter. This was the seventh 8000er for Yamada. During the descent, two fell to their deaths, Kobayashi at 7900 meters and Saito just 20 meters above Camp IV, their highest camp at 7400 meters. It seems likely that their falls were caused by fatigue. They had followed more or less the 1970 Bonington route. A second summit bid planned for December 22 was cancelled after their teammates’ falls.
Michael J. Cheney, Himalayan Club, and Elizabeth Hawley