American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Makalu Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

Makalu Attempt. George Austiguy, Dick Jackson, Brad Johnson, Scott Thor- bum, Dave Wright and I had hoped to climb the Japanese Ridge on the northwest face of Makalu. We established Base Camp on September 17 at 5400 meters and set a staging camp at 5800 meters where the real climbing would begin. On September 28, a major snowstorm forced a retreat to Base Camp. On October 2, we broke trail back up to our staging camp only to find the avalanche danger on the Japanese Ridge to be extreme. We decided to switch to the safer normal route. Climbing alpine-style, we reached 7000 meters on October 4 but returned to Base Camp to rest for a summit attempt. Jackson and I returned to 7000 meters on October 9 for a first summit try, but heavy wind and snow forced us to descend the following day. Austiguy and Thorbum reached Makalu Col (7400 meters) on October 13 but descended because of high winds. On the 15th, Jackson, Johnson and I climbed to 7000 meters. Johnson continued on to 7600 meters and the following morning soloed to 8100 meters, but turned around because of dangerous windslab avalanche conditions. We abandoned the climb on October 25.

Joe Frank, Unaffiliated

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