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Asia, Nepal, Tilitso

Tilitso. Our expedition consisted of Max Jeanpierre, Michel Laurent, Roger Laot, Denis Jeanvoine, Dominique Moutel and me as leader. I give a word on our approach and return. We followed the classic route to Manang in seven days. It takes a couple of difficult days from Manang to the eastern end of Tilitso Lake at 4800 meters. On the second day it was dangerous for the porters for whom we had to cut steps in the “rock pudding.” We finally needed another day to Base Camp at 4900 meters at the northern end of the lake, but we wasted a week in that section, first trying to skirt the lake on the western side, which is subject to avalanches. At last we went around the lake on the northeastern side and over a rock barrier. We also had to send to Manang for new porters with good footgear because of the snow. We finally got to Base Camp on April 15. On the return, we crossed the Mesokanto, a 5100-meter-high col in two days, which gave access to the Kali Gandaki. We did fix rope on a 40° snow slope for the porters, but this was much easier, safer and not longer. We placed Camp I dug into a 50° slope at 5850 meters on the east spur on April 18. On April 20, we set up Camp II at 6250 meters where the spur meets the slopes north of the summit. There was a 50-meter-high section of 80° ice below Camp II. On the 21st, Jeanpierre, Jeanvoine, Laurent and one of two Sherpas were driven back by the wind at 6300 meters. That same night, Laot left Camp I and got to 6800 meters, where he bivouacked before returning to Camp II. On April 23, Laot, our other Sherpa and I set out from Camp II. Ongel and I turned back in the summit rocks at 6920 meters in bad weather, but Laot reached the summit (7134 meters, 23,405 feet) at ten A.M. The storm made the descent for us three to Base Camp difficult and we were glad for the fixed ropes.

Christian Baillet, Club Alpin Français