Asia, Tibet, Mount Everest Group, Attempted Traverses

Publication Year: 1998.

Mount Everest Group, Attempted Traverses. There were two ambitious plans for very lightweight traverses via the highest point on earth (see Nepal for that of Anatoli Boukreev). An Italian, Reinhard Patscheider, who was an independent climber on the north side, reportedly wanted to descend the south side, but he unfortunately developed some unexplained stomach illness and after two attempts to climb the mountain was forced to go home without having gotten any higher than 7100 meters. He had climbed from the north on a permit arranged by a Polish mountaineer who actually did most of his own climbing with an Indonesian team.

Patscheider’s intention had been to go down the southeast ridge, which forms part of the international border, to the South Col, the very high saddle between Everest and Lhotse, and from there descend the standard Nepalese route. He was enrolled on the Lhotse permit of a British-led commercial expedition, and the leader of that team left for him at the South Col, as requested by Patscheider, a tent, sleeping bag and mat, stove, fuel and food. These items still await his arrival.

Although Patscheider had put his name on two permits, one from the Tibetan authorities and the other from the Nepalese, such a trans-border traverse would have been illegal, and he could have gotten into trouble if he had actually carried out his intention and been discovered. All permits require climbers to go down the same routes they go up. Furthermore, there is no agreement between the two countries for such border crossings, and the Nepalese penalty for this can be banishment from climbing in Nepal for five years.

Elizabeth Hawley