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Asia, Nepal, Annapurna Attempt

Annapurna Attempt. Our group of ten Americans, mostly professional mountain guides, attempted to climb the north face of Annapurna by the Dutch Rib. We arrived at Base Camp on August 28, finding a large Korean expedition already at Camp I. We caught up with the Koreans’ Sherpas along the rib and shared the work of trail breaking and rope fixing with them up to 7300 meters. Large avalanches poured down the mountain throughout our climb, destroying Korean Camps I, II and III at various times. Bill Crouse and we two occupied our Camp IV at 7325 meters on September 18. The next was to be a rest day prior to a summit attempt on September 20. All the technical climbing was below and our camp was at the final sérac barrier. At midday, six Sherpas and two Koreans passed our camp. The Sherpas were worried because the Koreans were forcing them to camp at 7500 meters, where there was no avalanche protection. Two hours later, a large avalanche roared over Camp IV, partially burying our tents. It also carried four Sherpas and two Koreans down. Five of them flushed out at 6275-meter Camp III, all to die within 20 minutes of internal injuries. One Sherpa was never found. We descended, helping the two survivors down and burying the dead. Five days later, Paul Valiulis, Ron Johnson and we two reascended to Camp III to find more new, unstable snow and constant winds. We retreated.

Julie and Matt Culberson