American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest, First Mexican Ascent and Tragedy

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

Everest, First Mexican Ascent and Tragedy. Our expedition was made up of Americans Scott Fischer, Robert Reynolds, Wally Berg, Bill Butler, Pat Howard, Tim Thorne, Ken Frick, Scott Moore, Dick Moran, Sheri Henderson, Peter Jamieson and me as leader and Mexicans Sergio Watkins Fitch and Ricardo Torres Nava. Our route was the normal South-Col route. We established Base Camp, Camps I, II, III, and IV at 17,500, 19,500, 21,000, 23,500 and 26,000 feet on March 11, April 4, 7, 15 and 24. It took 19 days to fix the icefall route due to hazardous conditions and one snowstorm. The traditional right-side approach was not feasible and the route was placed under the shoulder of the west ridge. We coordinated fixing the route with five other expeditions. We made three summit attempts: May 2 by Fischer, Berg and Jamieson to 28,000 feet thwarted by deep snow and exhaustion; May 13 by the same team turned back at 28,000 feet by storm; and May 16 to the summit by Torres, Phu Dorje Sherpa and Ang Danu Sherpa. I had to return from 27,000 feet. Oxygen was used above the South Col. Phu Dorje disappeared during the descent. His body was spotted several days later by other expedition members. Base Camp was a virtual city with considerable environmental impact and requiring expertise in international diplomacy.

Walter McConnell, M.D., Unaffiliated

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