Everest, First Ascent by a French Woman. This expedition was intitiated by Marc Batard, who hoped to climb Everest by the normal South Col route, spend the night on the summit and to climb Lhotse by the normal route the next day. With this in mind, he set up a team of 17 members which included guides, doctor, photographer, cameramen, journalists and climbers. Michel Pellé and I were in charge of preparing the ascent for Marc, who was acclimatizing on Shisha Pangma. We had an excellent team of 15 Sherpas led by Sonam Tshering. The expedition arrived at Base Camp on September 5. The Khumbu Icefall had already been prepared by the Japanese-Korean expedition and so we, together with other expeditions, reached the South Col before September 19, when Marc Batard arrived from Tibet. The first summit attempt by Batard, Pascal Tournaire, Christine Janin, Pellé and me failed in snowfall at 8300 meters. A long windy period followed in which the same climbers plus Belgian Karl Huyberechts were stopped on a second attempt at the South Col. Others during this period who reached the South Col were one-legged Yves Le Bissonais, three French women, Marie-Guislaine Jessenne, Jacqueline Paillet and Annie Dubois, and a Sherpani named Pasang, who was the first Sherpani to reach 8000 meters. On October 5, Batard, Tournaire, Christine Janin and I with Sherpas Nawang Thile and Sonam Tendu got to the summit. Christine was the first French woman to climb to the highest point on earth. The next day Nawang Bawa Sherpa ascended to the top by himself. All except for Batard used oxygen. The cold and wind were excessive. After spending two hours alone at the beginning of the night in a snow cave on the summit, Marc decided to climb down for reasons of safety. The ascent of Lhotse was cancelled.
Erik Decamp, Club Alpin Français