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Asia, Nepal, Everest Rapid Ascent

Everest, Rapid Ascent. Frenchman Marc Batard announced that he would undertake climbing Everest in 24 hours round-trip from the south-side Base Camp via the South Col to the summit and back. After his acclimatization climb of Cho Oyu, he helicoptered into the Everest area, and on September 8, exactly one week after he had stood atop Cho Oyu, he was at the foot of Everest. Other teams had already been preparing the climbing route. In addition, eight Nepalese were there to help Batard to break trail above the other teams and otherwise assist him on his climb. He began his first attempt on the evening of September 11, but he turned back at 8000 meters the next afternoon when he and his two Nepalese companions found the snow too deep. It took him two more sorties to gain success. A second exhausting attempt on September 14 and 15 got him to within 30 meters of the summit. His third try began from Base Camp at five P.M. on September 25 and ended on the top of the world at 3:30 P.M. the next day in the footsteps of Frenchman, Koreans and Nepalese who had gone to the summit before him the very same day. Some of the French were still there when he arrived. He was back in Base Camp at noon on the 27th. Batard had not accomplished his 24-hour retum-trip, but had managed in 22 ½ hours to achieve the fastest ascent of Everest. When beginning his autumn climbing, Batard said that he also hoped to finish with the first ascent of the great unclimbed south face of Lhotse solo. After Everest, he returned briefly to France. When he came back to the Himalaya in October, he decided he was too tired and scarcely did any climbing on Lhotse.

Elizabeth Hawley