Dhaulagiri II, south face to east ridge, attempt. The seven-man Czech expedition led by Pavel Trefil chose the very rarely visited Dhaulagiri II (7,751m) as its objective for pre-monsoon 2003, hoping to repeat the 1978 Japanese Route (summit reached by Shorji Koiko and Yoshio Ogawa) from the Tsaurabong Glacier. This climbs a prominent snow/ice spur right of the south face to reach the east ridge at a small, pointed, snowy top on the long, lower, horizontal section of the crest. From here the elegant East Ridge is followed more steeply to the summit.
Our expedition took six days to reach Base Camp from Beni. There, we were faced with a difficult river crossing (the Japanese spent three days building a bridge during their expedition), followed by a large and equally taxing rock barrier to reach the glacier. We had only brought 200m of fixed rope plus a few rock pegs and ice screws but after one week were able to set foot on the glacier and establish a camp. During the next two weeks we attempted to climb the mountain but snow fell every afternoon and night, making conditions highly avalanche prone. By May 17 we had reached ca 6,700m on the crest of the east ridge but saw that the remaining 1,000m to the summit comprised 50° ice. We felt unable to progress any further without fixed ropes and decided to call off the expedition. It would appear that the post monsoon would generally be a better season for an attempt, as there would be less snow and avalanche danger. However, a ladder is advisable for the river crossing and in autumn there would be even more water.
Pavel Trefil, Czech Republic