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Asia, Tibet, Himalaya, Kula Kangri (7,538m), Attempt and Tragedy

Himalaya, Kula Kangri (7,538m), attempt and tragedy. In the autumn Kazuhiro Takahashi led a seven-member expedition to Kula Kangri. The plan was to make the first ascent of the unclimbed north ridge and also the first traverse of East, Central, and Main peaks. By late September advanced base camp had been established at 5,900m. On October 1 Satoshi Arimura and Yoshinobu Kato started to fix ropes on a spur leading to a forepeak on the north ridge. Susumu Nakamura accompanied them as cameraman. At 11 a.m. contact was suddenly lost; calls from the lower camp remained unanswered. The leader and Takanori Sakurai initiated a search and at 6:50 p.m. found the bodies of the three climbers on the lower slopes, at 6,000m. An avalanche appeared to have swept the 30–40° slopes to where the bodies were discovered. The expedition was abandoned. Thirty-two-year-old Kato was one of Japan’s foremost high-altitude climbers, with eight 8,000m peaks to his credit. Sixty-two years old, Nakamura was the first Japanese to reach the North Pole (1978), South Pole (1994), and summit of Everest (1988).

Tsunemichi Ikeda, Editor, Japanese Alpine News