In a roundtrip of 40 hours from base camp and back, Jozef “Dodo” Kopold made an audacious first ascent, solo, of the central pillar on the east face of Annapurna South. His route, completed in early April, tops out more or less at the ca 7,100m north summit, which was previously unvisited. From there he traversed the ridge southwest to the 7,219m main summit, returned to a low point on the crest where the 1964 Japanese Route—the original route on the mountain—emerges, and went straight down the southeast face through seracs, deep snow, and hidden crevasses. During the ascent he overcame difficulties of F5+ WI6 M5. His account appears earlier in the Journal.
There had been only two known previous attempts on this pillar. Sometime in the mid- 1980s three Japanese got part way up the route on an unauthorized attempt, before disappearing. Locals later discovered their tent below the face, but not their bodies.
This event was unknown to a six-man British team before its arrival in the Annapurna Sanctuary in the spring of 1989. Members of this group reached just over half-height on the pillar but were dogged by poor weather, poor climbing conditions, and illness. However, they were surprised to find a Japanese bolt at 6,000m while dry tooling around a steep bulge on one of the central rock bands. The British team thought the upper section of the pillar looked extremely hard, with very steep fluted terrain capped by a difficult rock band.