Everest, post-monsoon attempt on the north face. There was one post-monsoon expedition to the Tibetan side of Everest: three strong and highly experienced Spaniards, Alberto Inurrategi, Ferran Latorre, and Juan Vallejo, who had a total of at least twenty-three 8,000m summit successes to their credit. They took no Sherpas, no oxygen bottles and no rope to fix on their chosen route up the steep, never-ending north face via the Japanese and Hornbein Couloirs. They were just three men equipped with their mountaineering expertise and motivation.
First they acclimatized on the normal route from Tibet, climbing to the North Col at 7,000m. They then went to a 5,900m camp at the bottom of the north face. They started their summit push on September 30 in alpine style and after three bivouacs had reached the Hornbein Couloir. Here, on October 3 at 8,200m, Latorre stopped, not feeling strong. However, his teammates carried on to 8,500m, where the Hornbein opens out. At this point Vallejo felt his strength ebbing, and Inurrategi turned back with him, not wanting to continue alone—and “maybe I was beginning to get tired too,” he said. They seemed satisfied with what they had accomplished. “We made a good push,” Inurrategi commented.
Elizabeth Hawley, AAC Honorary Member, Nepal