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Asia, Nepal, Annapurna Himal, Annapurna I (8,091m), West Face, Czechoslovak Route, Attempt

Annapurna I (8,091m), west face, Czechoslovak Route, attempt. Peter Hamor (Slovakia), Piotr Morawski, Piotr Pustelnik, and Dariusz Zaluski (all from Poland) made a spirited attempt on the unrepeated Czechoslovak Route on the huge west face. Midway between the main summit of Annapurna I and Varah Shikar (the Fang, 7,647m), the southwest ridge of Annapurna rises over a pointed rocky top with an altitude of at least 7,700m. From it a long, pronounced spur descends to the Miristi Khola. It was attempted in 1984 by a primarily French expedition, which reached 7,200m, and a similar line was tried again by French in 1986, reaching 7,900m. In the intervening year Kammerlander and Messner climbed the big depression left of this spur, slanting right toward the top to reach the southwest ridge, and then continuing along the crest to the summit of Annapurna I. This was the first ascent of any route on the west face. The French line was completed in 1988 by a team from Czechoslovakia, which found the upper section of the southwest ridge to be very sharp and technically difficult. In 2008 Hamor, Morawski, Pustelnik, and Zaluski helicoptered to base camp fresh from an acclimatization ascent of Ama Dablam. They progressed quickly up the 1988 line, fixing only 350m of rope in the lower section, and making Camp 3 on April 26 at 6,700m, where they were stuck for three nights in bad weather. On the 29th they set off in a lightweight push for the summit and bivouacked at 7,800m, just a few meters below the crest of the southwest ridge. Next day they got to 7,950m, only 250m distant from the summit, when fierce winds, snowfall, and lightning forced them down. The team feels that this route should be more widely attempted by aspiring Annapurna summiteers, as it is much less dangerous than the notorious north and south faces.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO