American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest Ascent and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Everest Ascent and Tragedy. A Spanish Catalan expedition led by Lluis Belvis was composed of 22 members, including a film crew, doctor and scientist. They hoped to climb the west ridge of Everest. Base Camp was established at 5320 meters on August 20 and Camp I on the Lho La at 6020 meters on August 28. Camps II, III and IV on the west ridge were placed at 6800, 7300 and 7600 meters on September 10, 13 and 30. On September 21, an avalanche hit Camp III, killing Nepali Narayan Shrestha. Mingma Sherpa and Juan Tomas survived. Due to route difficulty and strong winds, they retreated on October 7, having reached 7800 meters. They decided to join the French television expedition on the normal route. On October 8, Sergi Martínez, Nil Bohigas, Lluis Giner, Jerónimo López, Ang Nima Sherpa and Nima Rita Sherpa climbed from Base Camp to Camp II at 6400 meters, where they were pinned down for four days by strong winds. On October 12, they climbed directly to the South Col. Another rest day was caused by stormy weather. On October 14, Giner, López, Bohigas, Ang Nima and Nima Rita reached the summit at 12:45 P.M. This was the third Spanish ascent of Everest. For Ang Nima this was his fifth ascent of Everest without supplementary oxygen. The descent, however, was an ordeal. Martínez had been suffering from the altitude and they had left him on the South Summit with all of their remaining oxygen. When they returned, he was blind and lapsing in and out of consciousness. They fashioned a kind of basket from rope, which they used to drag him to the South Col where the Americans gave permission to use their oxygen. The next day, they began to drag him toward Camp III. Americans Dr. Steve Ruoss and John Petroske were ascending, hoping to make a summit climb. They gave up and Martínez was carried down to Camp II, while all expeditions did everything possible to help. Aided by an experimental pressure bag, Dr. Ruoss and Petroske nursed him for 48 hours without sleeping at all. Finally 20 climbers from all expeditions carried him down the Khumbu Icefall to Base Camp. He and frostbitten Giner were evacuated by helicopter.

Józef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland

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