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Asia, Nepal, Mount Everest Group, Attempted Traverse

Mount Everest Group, Attempted Traverse. A program similar to Reinhard Patscheider’s (see Tibet) was Anatoli Boukreev’s more elaborate idea for a traverse from Lhotse’s summit (8516m) over to the top of Everest, and then, “if I feel like it,” a traverse of Everest down the normal Tibetan route. He said he was on three permits: a British-organized commercial team’s Nepalese permit for Everest from the south, the Kazakhs’ Everest permit for the north side, and a Russian expedition’s Lhotse permit.

Boukreev first went to the top of Everest from the Nepalese side rather early in the season, on April 26, as one of three Russians employed by an Indonesian army expedition (who called them their “mercenaries”), and he then came all the way down to Kathmandu with the victorious Asians. After spending nearly a week at this much lower altitude, he returned to the Everest-Lhotse base camp on May 18 to join an Italian climber, Simone Moro, who was already climbing with a big Italian Lhotse team and was on the same Nepalese Everest permit as Boukreev.

Boukreev and Moro now climbed together up Lhotse’s normal route on the west face to the summit on May 26. (It was Boukreev’s second ascent of this peak.) But they made no move to go over to Everest. The weather was becoming unsettled that afternoon, and, more importantly, the normally very strong Boukreev was not now in good health: He suspected he had picked up a lung infection in Kathmandu, and his April ascent of Everest and descent to Kathmandu doubtless did not help. Moro had no interest in trying to go to Everest alone, so both men turned down and reached base camp the next day.

Elizabeth Hawley