Asia, Nepal, Everest Ascent and Tragedy

Publication Year: 1989.

Everest Ascent and Tragedy. A French expedition of Chamonix guides was led by Serge Koenig and composed of Denis Ducroz, Hervé Thivièrge, Alain Payot, Jean-Paul Chassagne, Marc Galy, Daniel Audibert and Jean-Paul Balmat. They had hoped to broadcast for television from the summit. On October 12, Koenig and Lhakpa Sherpa left the South Col and arrived on top at 1:30 P.M. Their television camera failed and so they left it on the summit for a second try later. On the descent they met Galy and Lhakpa’s brother Pasang Temba. Some time later, Galy descended to the South Col, figuring it too risky to continue. Pasang Temba pushed on toward the summit alone. Lhakpa decided to wait for him at 8500 meters while Koenig descended to the South Col, where he was met by Ducroz. During the evening, two Sherpas carried more camera equipment up to the South Col to replace the malfunctioning equipment, arriving at ten P.M. At two A.M. on October 13, Ducroz and a Sherpa set off with the camera at the same time as four Catalans of Lluis Belvis’ expedition and two of their Sherpas. At 3:30, Ducroz and his Sherpa returned, visibly shaken. They had come on the bodies of Pasang Temba and Lhakpa, apparently victims of a fall during the descent. They climbed to 8200 meters, dragged the bodies to the South Col and buried them in a crevasse lower down. Three of the Catalans and their Sherpas reached the summit, where they retrieved the camera equipment which had been left on the top. The fourth Spaniard did not make it, had gone blind and was badly frostbitten. It took them four days to regain Base Camp. (We are grateful to Serge Koenig for this information.)