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Asia, Tibet, Everest Attempt

Everest Attempt. Our members were Shaun Norman, Chris Curry, Mark Whetu, Dick Price, Hugh Van Noorden, Steve Bruce, Anton Woperies, Mike Rheinberger and I as leader. We hoped to climb Everest’s north face with a start on the left side of the Great Couloir. We got to Base Camp on April 16. From April 17 to May 13, we established Advance Base and Camps I and II, the latter in a schrund just below the north face on the Middle Rongbuk Glacier. From May 14 to June 3, we fixed rope up to the North Col and placed camps on the North Col and at 7800 and 8200 meters. The first summit attempt was made by Bruce and Van Noorden on June 4. After leaving the high camp at five A.M., they made rapid progress to the top of the First Step. There they encountered an exposed, loose rock traverse towards the Second Step. Not carrying a rope to save weight and time, they became concerned about returning over such serious ground unroped after reaching the summit. Bruce turned back. Van Noorden carried on to the top of the Third Step but turned back at 2:30 P.M. at 8730 meters. The second summit try was made on June 11 by Whetu, Rheinberger, Curry and me. Whetu and I left camp at four A.M. to repair old fixed rope in the Yellow Band. We placed 70 meters of new rope and dug up much old rope. The other two set out at six A.M. The wind increased steadily and by nine o’clock, when we had reached the start of the Norton Traverse, the three not using bottled oxygen were thoroughly frozen. Sadly, Curry, who was tolerably warm, had to turn back with us as the terrain ahead was not safe for solo travel.

Michael Perry, New Zealand Alpine Club