American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, Ascents and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Cho Oyu and Shishapangma, Ascents and Tragedy. In the autumn, V. Bachkirov (leader), B. Sedoussov, N. Zakharov, E. Vinogradski, V. Pershin, G. Tortladze, B. Mednik, A. Sedov, A. Klimin, A. Paskhin, and A. Kovalchuk attempted Cho Oyu’s normal route and Shishapangma’s normal route from Tibet. We had to break trail in waist-deep loose snow on avalanche-prone slopes up to 7500 meters. Having established three camps (6400 m, 7000 m, 7400 m) all the members reached the summit on September 23.

Being well-acclimatized, we decided to scale Shishapangma alpine style. This time we were without Klimin, Paskhin, Kovalchuk and Sedov but joined by A. Boukreev and a climber from South Korea. On October 2 we arrived at Shishapangma BC and on October 4 left for the summit.

Several other expeditions worked on the mountain from the beginning of September but nobody climbed higher than Camp II (6900 m) because of the bad weather. Several expeditions were thinking about going home.

We left BC in the appalling weather conditions and in the vicinity of Camp I just missed Vasilenko and Pastukh from the Ukrainian Expedition. They were going down from Camp II after waiting there for better weather. They were never seen again. Most probably they were killed in an avalanche somewhere between Camp I and Camp II. We spent two nights at Camp I (6400 m) waiting for the weather to improve. After the wind calmed a little we reached 6900 meters and the next day 7400 meters, again in the storm. The wind was so horrendous that I was blown uphill for 10 meters on the 40-degree slope. It was impossible to move on for the next three days, so fierce was the wind. On October 10 in a lull of the storm all the members left for the summit and reached it the same day.

Vladimir Bachkirov, Kaliningrad, Russia

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