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Asia, Nepal, Kangchungtse or Makalu II Attempt

Kangchungtse or Makalu II Attempt. Our commercial expedition started on a really bad note. Britons Mark Miller, the original leader, Victor Radvills, who was going to be the third guide, were both killed in the Pakistani International Airlines crash outside Kathmandu in September. They had just unsuccessfully tried a new route on Nanga Parbat via Rakhiot Peak. The final expedition list included Scot Alexander Allen as leader, Englishmen Sean Smith, Fraser Andrew, David Soutar, Andrew Mayers, John Mitchell, Jonathan Vanderkar, and Americans Warren, Gabriel and Jonathan Kaplan. Unfortunately the Nepalese government did not accept my American Alpine Club endorsement because I am an Argentine citizen despite having lived in the United States for ten years. Since my name was not on the permit, I was not allowed to climb. Nine of us left Hile on October 11. Sandy Allen and Sean Smith flew from England and caught up with us. During the walk in, two members had to be evacuated: John Mitchell because of an allergic reaction to malaria pills and Warren Kaplan because of a lung infection caused by a fall which injured his ribs. We arrived at Advance Base at 5200 meters above the Barun Glacier on October 23. The bad weather during the walk in cleared but winter conditions set in: cold and high winds. The team ferried loads to Camp 1 at 5700 meters. The route got worse since the wind had blown all the snow off, leaving hard, grey ice. We benefited from fixed ropes left by the Japanese. Most members reached Camp II at 6400 meters. On November 7, Jonathan Kaplan, Allen, Nga Temba Sherpa and Dawa Tenzing set up Camp III at 7200 meters, just below the Makalu La. The next day extreme winds forced them down. We left Base Camp on November 11.

Miguel Helft, Out There Trekking