American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest, from Sea Level to the Summit

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Everest, from Sea Level to the Summit. My objective was to make the first real ascent of Everest from sea level, alone on the mountain, unassisted and without suplementary oxygen. The first preference for the final route to the summit was by the west ridge from the Lho La, but failing that, the normal route. The non-climbing members were Dr. Ann Ward, and film-makers Mike Dillon and Pip Macartney-Snape. On February 1, equipment for Base Camp was sent off from Kathmandu. On February 5, we departed on foot from sea level at Harwood Point on the Bay of Bengal. We got to the Nepalese border after travelling via Calcutta, Sahibganj, where the Ganges was crossed with a three-kilometer swim, and Jogbani, where the expedition was denied a border crossing and diverted an extra 300 kilometers via Kharkavitta. Base Camp was reached via Bhojpur, Bung and Lukla. After fixing ropes with the Swiss west-ridge party to the Lho La, on April 19 to 22 I climbed up the west shoulder to 24,500 feet, bivouacking twice. After one further night at my high point for acclimatization, I descended to the Western Cwm to the site of Camp II and then down the icefall to Base Camp. There followed two weeks of snowfall and the west shoulder became avalanche-prone. Permission was given by the Ministry of Tourism to attempt the normal route. On May 7, I climbed from Base Camp to Camp II, which I left late the next day to arrive at the South Col at nine A.M. on May 9. Since the weather was unsettled, my departure from the South Col was delayed until ten P.M. on May 10. I reached the summit at 9:45 on May 11 in perfect conditions. After two hours on top for filming, photography and relaxation, I descended to the South Col at four P.M., where I waited in case the snow-blind New Zealand climber needed help. I climbed down on May 12 and 13 to Base Camp with all gear.

Timothy Macartney-Snape, ANU Mountaineering Club, Australia

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