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Asia, Tibet, Shisha Pangma from the North, Tragedy, Ascent and Attempts, Autumn 1991

Shisha Pangma from the North, Tragedy, Ascent and Attempts, Autumn 1991. At least seven expeditions attempted Shisha Pangma from the northern flank of the mountain in the autumn of 1991. Members of a Japanese expedition, led by Kiyoshi Shimizu, and a Taiwanese one, led by Lian Ming-Ben, collaborated in their attempt to repeat the 1964 Chinese route. On September 19, 1991, five Japanese and four Taiwanese climbers reached 7900 meters at the point where the route deviates to the left to the main summit where they hoped to begin the Chinese traverse. Being late in the day, the Taiwanese retreated to a lower camp, but the five Japanese dug a snow hole on the face and spent the night inside. The following morning, three of them were about to set off for the summit while Hidekazu Gomi and Tetsuichi Miyashita were getting ready, still inside the snow hole. Suddenly, an avalanche swept the face, dragging the three several hundred meters down and burying the two in the hole. Horikawa Matsugawa of the first group was badly injured and another suffered frostbitten hands trying to locate the pair in the snow hole. Japanese from this and another expedition, Taiwanese and Sherpas evacuated the three surviving climbers but had to give up any attempt to locate the bodies of the other two. A group, led by Chilean Mauricio Purto, included four Chileans, an Italian and a Sherpa. They arrived at Camp III at 7200 meters on September 26, 1991 and the next day climbed the northern ridge to the central summit and then proceeded along the connecting ridge to the main summit (8027 meters, 26,336 feet). They were Chileans Purto, Italo Valle, Fernando Luchsinger, Luis García, Italian Giovanni Mazzoleni and Ang Phuri Sherpa. This was the third 8000er for Purto and Valle and the second for Luchsinger, García and Ang Phuri. A six-member Basque expedition from Azpeitia arrived at Base Camp on August 28, 1991. Félix Azcárate, Miguel-Angel Aizpurua and Alex Zubía pitched Camp IV at 7200 meters on September 21. The following day, Mikel Larruñaga, Julián Soraluze and María-Jesús Larruñaga (f) left Base Camp, accompanied by members of the Chilean expedition, who went ahead. When the Basques arrived at the site of Camp IV on September 27, they found a tent partially destroyed and filled with snow. After some repairs, they spent the night there but the following morning gave up the attempt due to peristent high winds. A Spanish group comprising three from Santander and three Basques, including Belén Eguskitza, had to give up at Camp IV on September 29 due to high winds. Japanese, led by Fumimori Furukawa, had assisted in the rescue of the other Japanese. On October 4, 1991, Tetsuya Takahashi, Seiichi Kodama and Pasang Sherpa reached the central summit (8008 meters, 26,274 feet). Spaniards Bartolomé Quetglas and Ramon Alfredo from Mallorca failed at 7400 meters on October 9, 1991.

Xavier Eguskitza, Pyrenaica, Bilbao, Spain