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Asia, Tibet, Makalu, New Route on Northeast Face

Makalu, New Route on Northeast Face. The Japanese Alpine Club, whose $30,000 peak fee was sponsored by a prominent Japanese newspaper, sent 11 climbers accompanied by 12 Sherpas to attempt the northeast ridge from its beginning. They had estimated that their route would be 10 kilometers of extremely difficult pioneer climbing. Base Camp was at 3920 meters, established on March 30. They forged a route along the southwest face of the ridge, then went up onto the ridge and continued southwestward on it briefly. Then they moved northwest from the ridge onto the main Sakyetan Glacier, and without going to the Makalu La, joined the standard route up the northwest ridge to the summit on May 21. They spent mid-April to mid-May making the route, fixing all of it along the segment of knife-edged ridge, rock towers, and cornices. On a difficult ridge section, an ice avalanche struck but did not seriously hurt two Sherpas. With the additional services of their Base Camp head Sherpa, veteran mountaineer Pertemba, they completed this section, then were able to pitch Camp 5 on the southwest end of the ridge before moving onto the plateau at 7350 meters. On May 20, they established Camp 7 at 7650 meters. Osamu Tanabe, Atsushi Yamamoto, Toshihiko Arai, and Masayuki Matsubara’s summit success was followed on the 22nd by their climbing leader, Munehiko Yamamoto, along with Taro Tanigawa, Takeshi Ono, and Hirotaka Takeuchi.

Elizabeth Hawley