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Asia, Nepal, Lhotse, South Face Direttissima

Lhotse, South Face Direttissima. A 20-member Soviet team led by Aleksander Shevchenko took a different line to the right of Tomo Cesen’s on the rocky central part of the face. Despite poor weather and avalanches, they worked their way up the route. Six camps were established at 6000, 6600, 7000, 7400, 8000 and 8400 meters. The crux was from Camp IV on up to the top. Rock of UIAA V and VI was covered with ice and a thin cover of snow. The ridges were dangerously corniced. On October 16, Sergei Bershov and Vladimir Karatayev left Camp VI at seven A.M. In twelve hours, they climbed the extremely difficult ridges and arrived on the summit at seven P.M., already in the dark. It took them until five A.M. to descend to Camp VI. They had spent six days above 8000 meters and were totally exhausted. Three of their companions had to climb up and join them for the descent since they were incapable of descending by themselves. It was a fantastic rescue. It took them five days to descend even with the fixed ropes. Karatayev was more dead than alive. Seven of the Soviet climbers suffered severe frostbite with probable amputations.

Józef Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland