Asia, Nepal, Cho Oyu, East Ridge Ascent and Tragedy

Publication Year: 1992.

Cho Oyu, East Ridge Ascent and Tragedy. A team of 14 Russians, a Ukrainian and a Bashkir was led by Sergei Yefimov. They succeeded in climbing Cho Oyu (8201 meters, 26,906 feet) by the formidable east ridge, which has a 70-meter-deep gap with 80° rock on its sides at a very high altitude. They overcame this great obstacle partly by making an extremely difficult traverse on a rock ledge on the Tibetan side. This ridge had previously been unsuccessfully attempted by Japanese, British, Polish, American and Japanese climbers. Their highest fixed camp was at 6950 meters. At eight A.M. on October 20, six members set out from a bivouac at 7900 meters on the western side of this obstacle. Climbing without artificial oxygen, Ivan Plotnikov, Eugeny Vinogradsky and Alexsander Yakovenko gained the summit three hours later. Two more, Valeri Pershin and Sergei Bogomolov reached the top nearly two hours after that. Yuri Grebeniuk turned back at 8000 meters because his fingers were beginning to freeze and as a surgeon he wanted to keep them from being damaged. Tragically, the next day during the party’s descent from the bivouac, Grebeniuk was hit on the forehead by a falling stone while he was climbing out of the gap. Like the summiters, he was not wearing a helmet. He received a deep wound and lived only a minute longer. His body had to be left in a sleeping bag on a shelf in the gully.

Elizabeth Hawley