American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A Second Khan Tengri Tragedy

  • Accident Reports
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

A Second Khan Tengri Tragedy. A British commercial expedition had three clients led by aspirant guide Peter Potter. At the 4200-meter Base Camp they were joined by Russians Ilia Iodis and Valeri Khrishchaty, who were to act as guides. The party had climbed to 6300 meters for acclimatization before retiring again to Base Camp. One of the Englishmen then withdraw since he had not been able to stand the altitude. The other five returned to Camp I at 4300 meters on August 2. The next morning they set out early up the narrow trough of the Semenovski Glacier which leads to the western col between Pik Chapayeva and Khan Tengri, the normal route up this now frequently climbed mountain. At eleven A.M., they stopped for a rest below 5000 meters in a spot which they felt was safe from avalanches. Ilia decided to return and Khrishchaty descended a little to talk to him. Just then, a colossal avalanche fell from Pik Chapayeva, engulfing the two Russians and Britons Robert Guy and Patrick West. Potter, who was slightly higher, was caught only by the edge of the avalanche and he extricated himself. After finding no trace of the others, he managed to descend to Camp I, finding the whole area covered to within a 500 meters of the camp. A six-day search resulted in finding the body of only one of the Englishmen.

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