American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest

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

Everest. Of our commercial expedition, Americans Alex Lowe, Martyn William and I, Canadian Dan Culver and Soviet Aleksei Krasnokutsky were professional climbers who, along with Sherpas and eight other expeditions, fixed the mountain and prepared the camps. Colin Fuller, Peter Nelson, Cathy Gibson, Jack Beaton, John Fischer and Dr. Kimberly Johnson were the rest of the American members. We reached Base Camp on September to find the mountain crowded. Nine expeditions were permitted to use the icefall to gain the Western Cwm. All teams worked together and averted a potentially dangerous and adversarial situation caused by the government’s mismanagement of permits to the mountain. Camps I and II were established on September 7 and 12. There our route separated from the South Col-Geneva Spur route. At precarious Camp III, there was room for only two tents. Despite two other expeditions having permission for the South Pillar, our team was the only one that attempted it. We fixed rope to 24,200 feet on the pillar but the snow above 26,000 feet was still very deep and our route was hit by powder avalanches and falling ice. On September 20, our liaison officer gave us permission to change to the South Col. We established Camps III and IV at 24,000 and 26,000 feet. After occupying Camp IV on September 27, Lowe, Culver, Fuller, Ang Temba Sherpa and I were driven back by high winds. On October 2, Nelson joined Lowe and Culver at Camp IV. That night Nelson developed pulmonary edema and descended to Camp II where his condition was stablized with the use of a pressure bag. The high winds stopped at eight A.M. on October 4; Lowe and Culver started for the summit. Lowe broke trail up the untracked slopes and reached the top in fast time. Culver got there at two P.M. On October 5, Ang Temba and I reached the summit at 10:45 A.M., fixed the steep slopes below the South Summit and the Hillary Step and descended to Camp II. On October 7, in weather which remained good, the husband-and-wife team of Cathy Gibson and Aleksei Krasnokutsky with Phinjo Sherpa reached the summit in the early afternoon. Fuller and Lowe turned back before the South Summit. No further attempts were made and all camps were evacuated by October 10.

Hooman Aprin, Unaffiliated

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