American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Everest Super Couloir Attempt

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

Everest Super Couloir Attempt. Robert Anderson, Harry Kent, Chris Reveley, Jay Smith, Paul Teare and I as leader failed in our alpine-style bid on Everest’s Super Couloir (Japanese-Hombein Couloirs). To our great disappointment, the window of favorable weather that normally occurs in mid-September between monsoon snows and autumn winds never developed. While we were able to acclimatize extremely well on the peaks surrounding Everest, storms and avalanche danger frustrated our attempts on the north face. The only attempt of merit on the Super Couloir came on September 18. Smith, Kent, Anderson and I left Camp I at 19,800 feet at the base of the north face in the early evening and climbed all night and the next morning. We stopped at 25,700 feet in the early afternoon to rest with the hope to set off for the top in the evening. Deteriorating weather forced us to forego a summit bid and to bivouac. After a cold and fitful night, we descended. On the descent I hit a patch of ice while glissading and covered the final 2000 feet to the bottom of the face faster than I cared for! We left Base Camp on September 29 after a severe storm and a spell of particularly bad weather. During our stay, our team worked with the Everest Environmental Expedition in cleaning up the Base Camp and Advance Base on the Middle Rongbuk Glacier. We also removed 1200 pounds of trash on the route between Advance Base and Camp I. To our dismay, we found a great deal of litter left by two 1990 pre-monsoon expeditions from New Zealand and the USA at this site. Apparently no effort was made by either team to remove trash away from the camp site or to crevasse it. It was ironic, given the laudable efforts of the Everest Environmental and the Peace expeditions, to find trash from an American team, and a commercially guided one led by premier guides at that!

Mark B. Hesse, Unaffiliated

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