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Asia, Tibet, Everest Attempt

Everest Attempt. Carolyn Gunn and I arrived on August 17 at Kathmandu, where we met the other team member, Tamding Sherpa. We left on the 20th for Tibet and arrived at our 17,000-foot Base Camp on August 24. On the 29th, Carolyn and I hiked up the Central Rongbuk valley with two yak herders and six yaks to Advance Base at 18,300 feet. Two days later the yaks and drivers returned with Tamding and another load of food and equipment. We shared Advance Base with a small team of Americans attempting Everest in the monsoon season. They departed on September 16 and then we had the entire north face to ourselves. I made two carries to 19,000 feet on August 31 and September 1 and set up a camp there where climbing on the Central Rongbuk Glacier began. In the unsettled weather, climbing up the glacier to the foot of the north face would have been dangerous because of avalanches. After an acclimatization hike to the East Rongbuk, on September 13 I climbed with Tamding to 21,500 feet where I set up Camp II as a starting point for my alpine-style push up the face. I was roped with Tamding for this first trip to check out crevasses but made subsequent trips alone. I decided that the Japanese Couloir would be too dangerous because of the unsettled weather and the tremendous amount of new snow and opted for the Great Couloir. On September 14,I climbed to 23,500 feet for acclimatization, where I met Robert Anderson, who had attempted to solo too. He had given up because of deep snow and the approach of night. We both descended to my camp at 21,500 feet. A storm forced me to Base Camp for three days. During the rest of September and in early October, I made six more attempts up to 23,000 feet but was forced off the mountain each time by storms. My last try on the north face was on October 9. I decided to make a final attempt on the north ridge. With Tamding, we trekked to the base of the North Col on the East Rongbuk on October 11. On October 12, I climbed to the North Col and the next day to 25,600 feet on the north ridge. It was so windy that I could not set up my tent and so descended to the North Col. I spent the 14th on the col waiting for the wind to die. On the 15th, I climbed to 24,500 feet but again was forced down by gale winds. I descended to Advance Base for the final time.

Ed Viesturs