American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Dhaulagiri East Face

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

Dhaulagiri East Face. We were Janusz Gniadek, Zbigniew Kacuga, Dariusz Pi?tak and I as leader from Poland and Belgian Ingrid Baeyens and German Rüdiger Schleypen. Lots of snow stopped us very low, at the Italian Base Camp at 3700 meters below the west face of Dhaulagiri. From there we began our activity on March 29, establishing Camp I on the northeast col and Camp II on the northeast ridge at 5850 and 6700 meters on April 7 and 17. Meanwhile, we simultaneously moved Base Camp to its proper place below the “Eiger Wall” at 4650 meters. On April 23, we reached 7000 meters on the northeast ridge. The next day, April 24, I left the bivouac solo at 4:30 A.M. and got to the summit at 10:50 A.M. That evening, I returned to Base Camp. To accomplish my real objective to climb a new route on the east face, I had to wait for two weeks for better weather and a full moon. On May 8, I reached the northeast col again, where I stopped for a day. Finally, on May 9 at ten P.M. with a full moon, I traversed to the east face and at eleven P.M. began my solo night climb. I took a line to the left of that of Kurtyka, McIntyre, Ghilini and Wiczynski of 1980, a direct line via the central couloir. The difficulty on rock was UIAA V and 60° to 65° ice. I had no bivouac equipment. At one P.M. on May 10, I was very close to the ridge but had trouble finding a way out of the face on steep slabs covered by drifted snow. I lost two hours and felt trapped. Finally at three P.M. I reached the ridge at 7800 meters. It had been snowing for an hour and I had been climbing for 16 hours. I had to give up any hope to reach the summit. After three hours in very stormy conditions, I reached our bivouac tent at 7000 meters. The day after, I descended to Base Camp. On May 11, Ingrid Baeyens and Ralf Dujmovits of the German expedition pushed on to the summit from Camp III at 7450 meters. We left Base Camp on May 13.

Krzysztof Wielicki, Klub Wysokogórski, Katowice, Poland

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