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Asia, Nepal, Ama Dablam Attempt, 1990

Ama Dablam Attempt, 1990. I originally intended to try the Lugunak (southeast) Ridge, but since my companions had backed out in the United States, I switched to a solo effort on the standard southwest ridge. I was added to the permit of a South Tirolean team. After a bout with pneumonia, I went back to Base Camp after the departure of the South Tiroleans and started up alone on November 1, 1990. The route had been mostly fixed by two strong Italian and English teams, though by the time I arrived, quite a number of the ropes were cut or worn through. I tried to free everything but stayed clipped in as much as possible. I went for the summit from a second bivouac, but at the end of the Mushroom Ridge at 21,000 feet, the violent cough and high fever came back, this time with pulmonary edema. I descended to Camp II and stayed awake all night, drinking and taking Diamox and Decadron against cerebral impairment. I was very ill, and so at first light I started the tricky down-climbing, rappelling and traversing. I descended to Pangboche, where French friends gave me antibiotics.

Russell Gordon