American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Cho Oyu, Foresummit, and Shisha Pangma, Central Summit

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

Cho Oyu, Foresummit, and Shisha Pangma, Central Summit. On August 30, Jan Harris, Jim Jennings, Dan Langmade and I arrived at the 5400-meter roadhead Base Camp for Cho Oyu. We established Advance Base at the junction of the Gyabrak and Nangpala Glaciers, Camp I and II at 5700, 6400 and 7050 meters on September 5, 8 and 13. Because heavy monsoon and post-monsoon snowfall created avalanche potential, we decided against the long northwest traverses of the normal route and chose to climb directly from Camp II to the west ridge. Jennings, fearing avalanche danger, did not go higher. After departing from Advance Base on September 17, we bivouacked on the 19th at 7400 meters. At 12:20 A.M. on September 20, we climbed toward the summit, reaching the west ridge at 7600 meters at three A.M. We crossed the ridge and continued up narrow gullies below the ridge. At sunrise we were joined by Spaniard Iñake Ochoa, who had been following in our tracks. We four climbed a 50° avalanche-prone slope to the summit plateau and on to its southeast edge. On October 1, we four Americans arrived at the roadhead for Shisha Pangma at 5000 meters. We got to Advance Base, Camps I, II III and IV at 5500, 5800, 6300, 6800 and 6930 meters on October 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. We set out from Camp IV at one A.M. on the 8th. On reaching the north ridge at three A.M. in bitter cold and wind, Langmade stopped, fearing frostbite. Near the summit, we three found the pack of a Korean who had disappeared a week earlier. At 12:15 P.M., we reached a spot marked by Korean flags, 100 meters from and 10 meters lower than the central summit, which was double corniced and could not be reached. On the descent we met four Spanish climbers, who had followed our trail from Advanced Base to the summit. After spending the night at Camp IV, we returned to Advance Base on October 9, Base Camp on the 10th and Kathmandu on the 11th.

Keith Brown

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