American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, China, Sichuan, Chola Shan, Chola Shan I and Chola Shan II, Ascents, and Gurla Mandhata, Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Chola Shan I and Chola Shan II, Ascents, and Gurla Mandhata, Attempt. It was reported that in late summer and early fall, Charlie Fowler visited China and Tibet, making a solo second ascent of Chola Shan I (6168m) and a first ascent, also solo, of Chola Shan II (6119m) via its southeast ridge. Later, he turned his efforts to Gurla Mandhata (7728m) near the Nepalese-Indian border, where he set out to guide Soren Peters and Quinn Simons, two young climbers from Santa Fe. The trio began with first ascents of two 6900-meter peaks in the area. Thus acclimitized, they began up Gurla Mandhata, reaching a bivouac one pitch below the west ridge on their third day on the mountain. Peters and Simons had led much of the climbing to this point, but Simons seemed exhausted, forcing the team to take a rest day. A storm blew up, pinning them down another day, then collapsing their tent. Simons frostbit his hands while helping to dig it out, then developed signs of pulmonary edema. On day six, they began down. They were roped up and glissading a 50° slope when one person slipped. With his frostbitten hands, Simons was unable to self-arrest, precipitating a 1,500-foot fall that took the party over a 50-foot cliff and landed them, miraculously, in deep, soft snow. Fowler had a badly sprained his leg, but the others had suffered no injuries. It took a day to get to the glacier, where Peters and Simons went to base camp for help. The camp cook, Kwang Tamang, returned for Fowler 24 hours later. Fowler lost the tips of four toes, Simons lost portions of both hands and feet, and Peters likely will lose fingers and toes. (Climbing 176)

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