American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Shisha Pangma Rescue, Ascent to Central Summit and New Route

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

Shisha Pangma Rescue, Ascent to Central Summit and New Route. Frenchmen Jean-Christophe Lafaille and Dominique Caillat were among the many expeditions in the post-monsoon on Shisha Pangma. After a medical problem at the start, Lafaille recovered and was about to attempt the normal route. At that same time, a different French party had remained six days at a camp at 6700 meters in bad weather. Two of them, Pierre Bay and Dr. François Matter, determined to climb to Camp III at 7200 meters, while the rest of their group descended. They were exhausted from their long stay at altitude. Lafaille and Caillat, who had climbed to Camp II, received a desperate call from Camp III. Bay and Matter had been overwhelmed by an avalanche at 7400 meters but not buried. Bay staggered to the camp to give the call for help, but Matter had disappeared. In the morning Lafaille and Caillat set out in search. They had little hope of finding Matter alive after a night out at 7000 meters, but to their amazement they found him, exhausted and badly frost-bitten. They helped him back to Base Camp, from which he was evacuated to Kathmandu. Caillat then had to return to France for professional reasons. On October 7, Lafaille climbed to the central summit by the normal route. On October 9, he left Camp II and started up a new route on the right side of the north face. He had technical difficulties to overcome, particularly an 80° couloir at 7000 meters. He joined the 1987 route of Jerzy Kukuczka and Artur Hayzer on the west ridge at 7500 meters. He continued on to the western summit of 7950 meters, but did not have time enough to continue further. He descended the same route. [We are very grateful to Jean-Christophe Lafaille, who furnished us with this information.]

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