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Asia, Nepal, Nuptse East, South Buttress Attempt

Nuptse East, South Buttress Attempt. Christophe Moulin, Gérard Vionnet, Patrick Berhault and I hoped to climb Nuptse East in the post-monsoon. The south (central) buttress is imposing with 1000 meters of rock at the foot of the 2600-meter face. Berhault fell ill with a virus and had to withdraw after two days in our 5200-meter Base Camp. We other three began our effort in good weather. Rock steps and arêtes covered with snow mushrooms came one after another. After eight days in four sorties, we had fixed 1000 meters of rope with 6b difficulty in rock and 85° ice. On the fourth sortie, Vionnet suffered a fall and had to withdraw. Moulin and I continued our attempt after a rest. In one day, we got to the top of the fixed ropes and climbed 200 meters more, where we bivouacked at 6400 meters under the cornice at the top of the buttress. Above its top, we climbed the ridge leading to the foot of the final face, subjected to savage winds. Despite this, we continued on to bivouac in a crevasse at 7000 meters. The next morning, October 16, we hoped to be able to climb to the summit from there. After some 60° snow, we ran up against a rock band at 7300 meters. We climbed on and at five P.M. got to a fore summit at 7500 meters, but the redoubled wind was so fierce that we had to turn back. We returned to our bivouac, hoping for calmer weather the next day, but that did not happen and we descended.

Michel Fauquet, Club Alpin Français