Everest Attempt, Tragedy and Winter Ascent of Lhotse. Our joint Belgian-Polish expedition arrived in Nepal in October. We invited Polish climbers Andrzej Zawada, Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy to accompany us as advisers. It took a couple of weeks to build up Base Camp and work a way through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall. Unfortunately I developed a persistent dry cough and rattle in the lungs and had to separate from the team. Dr. M. Vreugde took over the leadership. Several times the climbers had to postpone the attempt for the summit because of bad weather. Finally, on December 22, Rudy Van Snick and Sherpas Ang Rita and Ang Lhakpa Dorje were near the South Summit when the weather turned bad. Ang Lhakpa Dorje was very tired. He made a false move, slipped and fell some 60 meters, stopping just before a 500-meter precipice. Though close to the top, Rudy Van Snick and Ang Rita did not hesitate to do all they could for their friend. The efforts to bring the injured man to lower levels took all their energy. Tragically, they could not save him and he died the next morning. The Belgian members ended their expedition. On December 31, Krzysztof Wielicki climbed without artificial oxygen to the summit of Lhotse by the west face. He and Cichy spent the previous night at Camp III at 7400 meters, but only Wielicki reached the top.
Herman Detienne, Belgian Himalayan Club