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Asia, Tibet, Changtse

Changtse. We were R. Turner, G. Nash, D. Hunter, C. Gordon, J. Smart and I as leader. We established Base Camp at 5100 meters on September 5. Camps I and II were at the traditional sites on the East Rongbuk Glacier at 5400 and 5800 meters. Advance Base was at 6000 meters at the junction of the Changtse and East Rongbuk Glaciers. We spent two weeks acclimatizing. Two routes were attempted: 1) a central couloir to the left of the north-face icefall, climbed by a Japanese team in 1986 in the pre-monsoon, tried by Nash and Turner; 2) an objectively safer route farther east which led to the ridgeline and thence to the summit, attempted by Hunter, Smart, Gordon and me. We on the second team reached 7100 meters after three bivouacs at 6400, 7000 and 7100 meters. Gordon and I turned back there, while Smart and Hunter went on to 7200 meters before turning back two days later. The first team, Nash and Turner, reached the summit (7580 meters, 24,869 feet) on September 29 after bivouacs at 6200, 6500, 6650 and 6900 meters despite high winds, two avalanche incidents and a fall into a schrund.

Louis A. Whitton, Australia