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Pisang Tragedy, Annapurna Himal

Pisang Tragedy, Annapurna Himal. Nepal’s second-worst climbing disaster occurred on Pisang (6091 meters, 19,904 feet), a trekking peak. On November 13, nine Germans including one woman, a Swiss woman and a Nepalese died in an avalanche. There were no survivors, but searchers who found the bodies a few days later concluded that in their descent from the summit several of the highest climbers started a windslab avalanche, slid down on top of the next rope of climbers who in turn slid onto the lowest climbers. All of them fell some 600 vertical meters first down a snow slope then over rocks and down an ice couloir. The German Alpine Club (DAV) group was led by a 25-year-old guide, Stefan Hasenkopf. The worst disaster happened in successive days in the spring of 1972 on Manaslu, resulting in the death of ten Nepalese, four South Koreans and one Japanese when a Korean high camp was completely destroyed. Two or three searchers went up the next day to find out what had happened and were themselves killed.

Elizabeth Hawley