Mr. Yasushi Yamanoi and his wife Taeko, two of Japan's premier alpinists, climbed Gyachung Kang (7,985m) via the Slovenian Route this October. They arrived at base camp on October 5 and proceeded to an advanced base camp at the foot of the Slovenian Route. On October 6 they climbed mixed terrain (50°–60°) to 7,000m and bivouacked. On October 7 they continued climbing to 7,500m and bivouacked. On October 8 it began snowing and at 7,600mTaeko gave up climbing and decided to wait for Yasushi. Yasushi returned after reaching the summit solo, reunited with Taeko, and made another bivouac. Snow continued on October 9 and they descended to 7,200m and bivouacked. While descending in the continuous snow on October 10, Taeko was hit by avalanche, loosing her right glove and vision in her left eye. Later the same day Yasushi also lost vision in both eyes making their descent extremely difficult and forcing the pair to bivouac again. Vision in Yasushi’s left eye returned the next day while Taeko had now lost vision in both eyes. They managed to descend to their advanced base camp where they found none of their support team members. A 10-hour descent on October 12 led them to a bivouac on the glacier; Taeko still had no vision. On October 13 they arrived at their base camp to learn that their support team had assumed they had disappeared and would not return. They were immediately taken to a hospital in Kathmandu and were flown to a hospital in Tokyo on October 18, where they recovered other than Yasushi’s loss of toes and fingers. Gyachung Kang is located on the border of east Nepal and China (Tibet) at N 28° 06' and E 86° 45', 33 km north of Namche Bazar. The first ascent was made by a Japanese party on April 10,1964.
Tamotsu Nakamura, Japan Alpine News