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Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri Attempt and Tragedy

Dhaulagiri Attempt and Tragedy. After our success on Indrasan in April, the Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne hoped to climb Dhaulagiri in September and October, one group by the east face and the other by the normal route. In the second week of this climb, two members had to be evacuated, one with pulmonary edema and the other because of excessive fatigue. We decided to give up the east face try. Still present were Lieutenant Hubert Giot, Sergeants Bruno Prom, Eric Gramond, Dominique Gleizes and Philippe Renard, Adjutant Lionel Mailly, Captain Doctor Pierre Lavier and I as leader. We set up Camps I and II at 5700 and 6450 meters on September 14 and 18. The weather got worse and worse. On September 25, Giot, Gleizes and Sherpas Ajiba and Kami Sarki left Camp II for Camp III while it snowed lightly. When the weather worsened, they dropped their loads at 7100 meters at the base of the “Pear.” They were overwhelmed by an avalanche. Giot and Gleizes were saved, being attached to a fixed rope. The Sherpas, 50 meters behind, disappeared over the north face, carried away by the avalanche. A long period of bad weather followed. On October 3, a team ascended to find Camp I completely destroyed. On October 11, climbers went up to Camp II but there was too much avalanche danger. On the 15th, it was decided to abandon the expedition.

Alain Estève, Captain, Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne