American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri, Complete Southwest Buttress

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

Dhaulagiri, Complete Southwest Buttress. Our international expedition hoped to make the first complete ascent alpine-style of the southwest buttress of Dhaulagiri, attempted by French in 1978 and 1980 up to 7500 meters and by Czechoslovaks in 1985 up to 7250 meters. The buttress itself is 2200 meters high and is topped by snow slopes 900 meters high. The French reported great difficulties in three sections: a succession of rock towers from 5000 to 6000 meters, a narrow snow ridge with steps up to 60° and enormous rock-and-ice towers from 6000 to 6800 meters, and a vertical and partially overhanging step from 6800 to 7300 meters. A second group of the members wanted to repeat the Japanese route on the south face. The expedition members were from three countries: Igor Novák and I, co-leaders, Dr. Tomáš Skricka, and Zoltán Dem- ján, Czechoslovaks, Marco Fogliatti and Sergio Antoniazzi, Italians, Yuri Moiseev and Kazbek Valiev, Soviets. Base Camp was established at 3600 meters on September 16. Immediately bad weather with heavy snowfall followed. This complicated matters since the expedition was planned to last only until October 10 or 12. When the weather cleared on September 25, it became possible to move up to the southwest col at 5100 meters on the 26th. It was obvious that the Japanese route was out of the question for that group, which lacked acclimatization. However, the three southwest-buttress climbers, Demján, Moiseev and Valiev, had shortly before climbed in the Tien Shan and were acclimatized. They set out from the southwest col on September 29, alpine-style, with 15-kilogram packs. They bivouacked at 5650, 6100, 6500, 6700, 6900, again 6900, 7200, 7350 meters. They left their snow cave on October 6, the eleventh day above Base Camp, and climbed to the summit, despite a storm that began at 11:15 A.M., and returned that same night to that highest bivouac. The descent followed the ascent route, mostly rappelling, with bivouacs at 6900, 6500, 6100 and 5100 meters. They were back in Base Camp on October 10, having been climbing for 16 days. The most difficult part (UIAA VI, A2, 90°) was principally between 6750 and 7200 meters.

JIRí NovÁk, Ceskoslovensky Horolezecky Svaz

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