American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Everest, Kangshung Face Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995

Everest, Kangshung Face Attempt. Our expedition was composed of Canadian Barry Blanchard, Americans Steve Swenson, Sandy Pitman (f), Alex Lowe and me as leader, and Sherpa climbers Wongchu, Kaji, Pinzo and Nawang. Lowe, Kaji, Pinzo and I had all climbed Everest twice before. Catherine Mulvihill was Base Camp manager. We established Base Camp on April 3 at 17,800 feet at the site previously used for Advance Base. This avoided the long walk across the glacier. We attempted the American-Canadian-British route climbed in 1988 and repeated by Chileans in 1992. After fixing rope to 20,300 feet, we placed Camp I on April 15 at the same place as the two previous expeditions. Light to heavy daily snowfalls of 3 to 8 inches continued through April. After fixing another 1500 feet of rope above Camp I and marking the rest of the route with bamboo wands, we reached Camp II at 24,200 feet on May 3 and established it on May 7. The snow between Camps I and II was four-feet-deep and did not consolidate. The slopes higher were laden with wind-deposited snow, blown off the South Col. After considerable debate, we decided that the route was too dangerous this year and for me, the risk to the Sherpas was unacceptably high. On May 10, we turned back. The weather in May was better, but the snow conditions did not improve.

David Breashears

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