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Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri Tragedy

Dhaulagiri Tragedy. In December, three men disappeared on Dhaulagiri who were attempting a winter ascent by the normal northeast ridge. Four Americans and two Canadians, whose leader Timothy Brill did not even reach Base Camp, were apparently more a collection of people interested in scaling Dhaulagiri than a team. The climbing leader Jim Yoder left after some days of climbing. He went back to Kathmandu, not having been able to acclimatize. The rest pushed on to Camp II at 5800 meters. Three descended from there while three more presumably climbed to Camp III at 6400 meters. After those that descended had reached Base Camp, the two Canadians departed for home. While Joseph Cain stayed there, the two Americans still on the peak, Gregory Barber and Scott McGrath, and their only climbing Sherpa Nuru Wangchuk remained at Camp III at 6400 meters, determined to continue the climb. There followed a nine-day snowstorm. Cain waited out the snowstorm at Base Camp and then scanned the mountain for signs of the men above. Before the prolonged snowfall, he thought he had been able to see Camp III and the cache of equipment above it, but now he could see neither the camp, the cache nor any indication that there was anyone anywhere on the mountain. They had taken no radios with them and so could not communicate. Cain had to return home and when he left, only a Sherpa cook and helper remained there. They dismantled the camp a few days later and when Yoder and one of the Canadians came back from Kathmandu, they found absolutely no one.

Elizabeth Hawley