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Asia, Nepal, Annapurna Dakshin Attempt, Ridge in South Face

Annapurna Dakshin Attempt, Ridge in South Face. Ken Andrasko, Jim Beall, Chris Bretherton and I as leader attempted the unclimbed ridge which splits the south face of Annapurna Dakshin (Annapurna South; 7219 meters, 23,683 feet). We climbed up the ridge above Chamrong village to reach Base Camp at 3775 meters on April 5. We found a route above the Chamrong Khola, which involved several hundred feet of fixed rope, and arrived on April 14 at our 3600-meter Advance Base on the west bank of the glacier between Annapurna Dakshin and Hiunchuli. Travel up the glacier was threatened from gullies on all sides of the cirque. We ascended one of these to reach Camp I at 4350 meters on April 18 and continued up the same gully to establish Camp II on April 30 on a 5180-meter col on the ridge. We fixed rope on two patches of ice to gain the prominent glacier visible from the south and west and climbed up deep, steep snow to reach Camp III at 5600 meters on May 5. We regained the ridge crest by ascending an ice-and-rock pitch above camp and on May 7 pitched Camp IV at 5850 meters on a broad dome. Beall and Bretherton continued up the knife-edge to 6100 meters that afternoon but were unable to climb the steep, loose rock. The next day, Andrasko and I traversed the pinnacle’s base on the east in stormy weather. We reached a gully overhung by airy séracs, which led back to the crest. The following day, a violent storm confined us to camp. Running low on food, we abandoned the attempt. While the ridge above 5180 meters offers aesthetic, challenging climbing, the avalanche danger up to the col, the technical approach and the low altitude of the only suitable site for Advance Base make this route a difficult proposition.

Will Silva, M.D.