American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Annapurna Ascent and Tragedy in Autumn and Winter Attempt

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

Annapurna Ascent and Tragedy in Autumn and Winter Attempt. A 19-man Bulgarian expedition led jointly by Todor Grigorov and Ivan Vylchev intended to climb Annapurna by the Messner route but switched to the Dutch route. They set up Base Camp at 4200 meters on September 21. On October 1, three climbers were swept down by an avalanche at 6200 meters. After a 600-meters fall, Vylchev and Veselin Chaushev suffered hand and rib fractures while porter Dawa Tamang was unhurt. They set up Camps II, III and IV at 5900, 6700 and 7400 meters. On October 26, Vylchev, Liubomir Iliev and Dimitr Nachev climbed to within 40 vertical meters of the top but were driven back by bad weather. On October 28, Milan Metkov, Ognian Stoykov, Liudmil Yanakiev and Petr Panayotov left Camp IV at 2:30 A.M. Three of them reached the summit at 11:30. During the descent, they met Metkov, still climbing uphill despite high, cold winds. Stoykov stopped and persuaded him to withdraw. Both thus dropped behind. The weather suddenly turned bad and they descended in mist and snowfall. The first pair took refuge in Camp IV. At3:15 P.M., Metkov contacted Base Camp by radio, saying that he and Stoykov could not find Camp IV. Shortly thereafter, teams climbing to Camps II and III below the cloud cover saw “something falling.” Apart from pieces of their equipment, no sign of the two climbers could be found despite searches in terrible weather. On October 30, three frostbitten members were evacuated by helicopter. Another Bulgarian party led by Metodi Savov attempted to climb Annapurna by the Polish route on the south face. They were unsuccessful, reaching 6600 meters on December 16.

Jözef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland

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