American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Everest Attempt

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

Everest Environmental Expedition. A full article on this expedition appears earlier in this volume.

Everest Attempt. Our expedition had hoped to climb the Great Couloir, but due to the lack of snow and rockfall we decided on the west ridge. Our climbing members were Peter Habeler, Martín Zabaleta, Vernon Tejas, Bob John, Mike Gordon, Brad Nieman, Normand Bergeron and I as leader. We arrived at Base Camp at 17,000 feet on March 8. We established Advance Base, Camps I, II and III at 18,500, 19,500, 21,300 and 23,300 feet on March 13, 24, April 8 and 15. Camp III was just below the top of the west shoulder. We had hoped to have a temporary Camp IV at 24,600 feet. The summit team of Habeler, Zabaleta and me went from Camp I to III on April 22. That night I felt ill and the next day Habeler also became ill as he started for Camp IV. The summit attempt was called off. Later, on May 8, Zabaleta, Lhakpa Rita Sherpa and Man Tamang made a summit attempt, hoping to join a small but very strong Swiss team that had climbed from Nepal to the top of the west shoulder. The Swiss found the snow too deep on the ridge and returned from between Camps III and IV. Martín, Lhakpa and Man continued on but were struck that night by food poisoning. The next day they reached a high point of 7800 meters (c. 25,600 feet) before returning, feeling very ill. We left the mountain on May 18.

Todd Burleson, Alpine Ascents International

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