American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Mount Everest in the Post-Monsoon

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

Mount Everest in the Post-Monsoon. A small Indian team came to the north side of Everest during the summer and stayed on well into the autumn. They were at or above basecamp nine weeks in all. Their leader, Atanu Chatterjee, said they were finally defeated by the unhappy discovery of the disappearance of three-fourths of the important ladder which earlier mountaineers had placed at the Second Step (8700 meters), and which all climbers via the North Ridge route now expect to use. The Indians had neither enough rope nor enough strength to surmount the Step or traverse around it.

Two out of three South Korean teams on the same route in the autumn managed to overcome this problem. All three teams also reached the Step and were turned back by the absence of the well-known ladder. One team had no strength left to continue their climb, but the other two temporarily retreated, brought up a good supply of rope, and together went to the summit on October 14.

One of these successful teams had begun their ascent on Everest via the northeast ridge. The Koreans had brought with them Lhakpa Nuru, one of the Sherpas who had summitted by this route and who had reached the top five other times. But an avalanche struck a party of two members and four Sherpas when they were at 6900 meters. It killed Lhakpa Nuru and injured another Sherpa and two Koreans. When this team returned to the northeast ridge a week later, they found there was still serious danger of avalanching, and they abandoned that route.

The other successful Korean team also lost a Sherpa, Zangbu, who fell to his death during his descent down the Great Couloir from the summit. He either lost his footing or was involved in a small avalanche. He fell 3000 meters

An autumn expedition from Spain suffered the loss of member Xavier Lamas, who was killed by an avalanche while they were acclimatizing on Changzheng, just north of Everest.

Elizabeth Hawley

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