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Asia, Nepal, All 14 8000-Meter Summits

All 14 8000-Meter Summits. There were successes for three men approaching their goal of summiting all 14 8000-meter mountains, Fausto De Stefani and Hans Kammerlander of Italy on Kangchenjunga, and a Spanish Basque, Juanito Oiarzabal, on Dhaulagiri I.

Juanito Oiarzabal, a stickler for veracity amongst mountaineers who has blown the whistle on some errant ones, had a problem about the top of Dhaulagiri (8167m). On May 2, he came to an upright aluminium pole on the normal Northeast Ridge route very high on the mountain. He had been told that this point was considered to be the summit and that numerous earlier climbers had claimed success on the basis of having reached it.

But for him this was not the true summit but about 50 meters lower; one can see more peaks, including the true top, beyond it, he says. He made another summit push, but was turned back by high winds. Only on May 22 did he get beyond the pole’s area by a different line above 8100 meters and satisfy himself that he had really summited Dhaulagiri I. He has now “conquered” his 12th 8000er without bottled oxygen. With him to the top on the 22nd went two Basque brothers, Alberto and Felix Iñurrategi, who have climbed all their 8000ers together (and also without bottled oxygen) and for whom Dhaulagiri was their ninth success.

An Italian who is getting close to summiting all the 8000ers is Hans Kammerlander. He was on Kangchenjunga this season and gained the summit of the 8586-meter giant on May 18 without artificial oxygen via the standard Southwest Face route with his teammate, Konrad Auer. But he said on his return to Kathmandu that he was not happy with this success, for the three weeks he spent on the mountain with three fixed camps along the route “is not my style. This is too slow.” His toes became frostbitten while he waited for his companion to ascend his own first 8000er; “this [frostbite] is too high a price for a normal route.” Now he was not able to go immediately to Manaslu, as he had planned, but had to have his toes cared for and wait until 1999 to scale this 8000er, when he hopes to climb K2 as well. That, he figures, will complete his “conquest” of all the 8000ers, although he has not reached the very highest peak of Shishapangma.

Fausto De Stefani, 46, now claims to have “conquered” all the 8000ers with his ascent of Kangchenjunga on May 15, despite the statement last autumn by his teammate on Lhotse that they did not actually reach that summit although they were “very, very near” it.

Elizabeth Hawley