American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Southeastern China, Kang Karpo Tragedy, 1991

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

Kang Karpo Tragedy, 1991. Kang Karpo (6740 meters, 22,113 feet), as it is called by the local population, is known as Meili by the Chinese. The highest mountain in Yünnan, it has resisted strong Japanese and American attempts. In late 1990, a party of eleven Japanese of the Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto with Jiro Inoue as climbing leader and seven Chinese tried again to climb the peak. On December 14, they set up Base Camp at 3800 meters and soon had three camps established on the northeast ridge of the mountain. On December 28, they made a summit try which reached 6470 meters. Camp III, located at 5100 meters in the upper basin of the Min-Yun Glacier, was more comfortable than Base Camp and so the whole expedition, except for one ill Chinese climber, was there in the first days of January, waiting for better weather. They were in constant contact with the Chinese liaison officer, Mr. Chen, in Base Camp. Each climber had a walkie-talkie and so it was impossible when no further contact could be made on January 4 that all the radios were out of order. The camp was doubtless overwhelmed by an avalanche. The Chinese Mountaineering Association and the Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto both sent rescue parties, but deep snow made the approach difficult. The Chinese got to Base Camp on January 9 and the Japanese on the 20th. The Chinese party was able to reach Camp II in the col above the Min-Yun Glacier at 5300 meters. (Camp II was 200 meters higher than Camp III.) However, the dangerous conditions prevented their getting to Camp III. The Japanese rescue party reached 4200 meters. On January 25, the Chinese and Japanese parties decided to give up further action because of continuing bad weather. An aerial photograph showed thick avalanche debris near Camp III.

Kazumasa Hirai, Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto

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