Asia, Nepal, Annapurna IV
Annapurna IV. The British Joint Services Expedition consisted of Brian Tilley, Lothar Kuelheim, Mark Samuels, Nick Arding, Dave Evans, Steve Willson, Rod Dunn, Gail Waller, Glyn Sheperd, Vick Barrows, Dr. Helen Robertson and me as leader. We arrived at Base Camp at 3800 meters on March 31 after a week’s approach from the roadhead at Besi Sahar. Weather was bad throughout the climb. Advance Base was established on April 3 at 4800 meters after a concerted effort by the team and four porters. We followed the prominent ridge to the dome between Annapurna III and IV. This gained the main shoulder of Annapurna IV. Features on the mountain had changed significantly in the past ten years. Large cliffs and sizable crevasse-fields had formed as large chunks of the mountain had given way. This may account for the high failure rate during the previous decade. Camps I and II were established on April 7 and 10 at 5100 and 5400 meters. Then began the main difficulties of the climb. It took ten days to force the route to Camp III at 6100 meters. A heavy snowfall on April 23 forced the team off the mountain for three days. On April 29, we placed Camp IV at 6450 meters on the main shoulder. On May 3, three pairs set off and established an assault camp at 7000 meters, but they were stormbound for 48 hours. However, a fine spell followed and Tilley, Samuels, Dunn, Willson and Sheperd reached the summit (7525 meters, 24,688 feet) on May 5. Base Camp was evacuated on May 10.
Michael Trueman, Major, 10th Gurkha Rifles, British Army