American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Everest, Hornbein Couloir from the North Face Attempt

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

Everest, Hornbein Couloir from the North Face Attempt. Our expedition was composed of Luis Fraga, Luis Bárcenas, Juan Agustín Casillas, Iñigo Mauleon, Pedro Holst, Bicen Itxaso, Cristóbal Salas, Fernando Garrido and me, all from different regions of Spain. We were also joined in part by Frenchman Pierre Beghin. We crossed from Nepal to Tibet by way of Kodari on June 20. We established Base Camp on July 5 at 5150 meters, somewhat higher than usual. On July 8, we put Advance Base at 5500 meters in the splendid place the Australians had used. On July 14, Camp I was set up at the foot of the north face on a great plateau at 6050 meters. The weather turned bad for a long time and left the face in bad condition, but on August 6, we placed Camp II at 6900 meters. We used a route this far which was to the right of the Japanese route and to the left of the one used by Loretan and Troillet; we feel that this was safer from avalanches than the Japanese. Camp III was established on August 9 at 7350 meters on a rocky spur. Beyond Camp II we were also on new ground until we reached the Hornbein Couloir to the left of the route used by the Japanese and by the Swiss Loretan and Troillet. On August 25 Fraga and I made the first summit attempt from Camp IV at 7900 meters, but we were driven back by the weather from 8000 meters in the Hornbein Couloir. Our retreat was problematical in the deep snow that fell. On August 27, a second summit try failed due to Sherpa misunderstanding and bad weather. On September 2, Bárcenas, Fraga, Garrido and Beghin set up two small tents at 8200 meters and on September 3, Garrido and Beghin got to 8700 meters. They had to deviate to the right to emerge on the upper part of the west ridge, but the deep snow turned them back. Without a bivouac, they could not have reached the top.

Antonio Ramos Villar, Tenerife, Spain

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