American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Everest, First Ascent by a Married Couple and First Yugoslav Woman

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

Everest, First Ascent by a Married Couple and First Yugoslav Woman. Ours was a joint expedition of the Trieste (Italy) Slovene Alpine Club and the Slovene Alpine Association. We were Yugoslavs Andrej Štremfelj, his wife Marija, Dr. Žare Guzej, Janez Jeglic, Silvo Karo, and I as leader and Italians Dusan Jelincic, Lenard Vidali, Davor Zupancic, Marco Sterni, Mauro Petronio, Sergio de Infanti, Lorenzo Mazzoleni and Tatjana Gregorij, supported by ten Sherpas. We had hoped to climb Everest by the American route (Hornbein Couloir) and the west face of Lhotse. On August 26, we were ready to start the trek to Base Camp. Due to a serious medical problem, I had to leave the expedition that same day and return to Europe. Andrej Štremfelj assumed leadership. The expedition arrived at Base Camp on September 8 and established Camps I and II at 5950 and 6350 meters on September 10 and 13. Jeglic and Karo joined them on the 17th. They had been climbing a difficult new route on Bhagirathi III. (See article.) The party climbed a new variant to the right of the 1963 American route to the west ridge, on the crest of which they established Camp III at 7500 meters on September 21. They fixed 1500 meters of rope on a slope which averaged 45° to 50°. The last 150 meters were of 55° to 85° and of UIAA VI difficulty. Because of deep snow and avalanche danger on the northwest side of the mountain after a heavy snowfall, on September 26 they changed to the normal route. A new Camp III and Camp IV were placed at 7200 meters on the Lhotse Face and on the South Col at 7906 meters on September 29 and October 1. On the 1st, Mazzoleni made the first summit attempt from Camp III but was driven back by high winds. On October 7, both Andrej and Marija Štremfelj, Jeglic and Lhakpa Rita Sherpa left Camp IV at four A.M. and reached the summit at 1:15 P.M. On the 8th, Mazzoleni made a final attempt. He got to the south summit but high winds prevented his climbing higher. When the weather turned bad on October 14, it was decided to give up any further attempts on Everest or Lhotse. Marija Stremfelj is the first Yugoslav woman and the twelfth woman to climb Everest. (She would be the 13th if Lydia Bradey’s disputed ascent is counted.) She and her husband are the first married couple to do so.

Tomaž Jamnik, Planinska Zveza Slovenije, Yugoslavia

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