IT ALL STARTED with my preparations for the Kangchenjunga expedition, being undertaken in March, 1987 by the Assam Rifles. We had concentrated at Pegong in north Sikkim for preparations and selection of the team for Kangchenjunga. Most of the boys were inexperienced youth, picked up from the various battalions. My endeavour was to expose maximum members of the Kangchenjunga team to some equally challenging peak as a training exercise.

Chomo Yummo1 caught my eye for its sheer beauty and as a relatively less known peak in Sikkim. I was fascinated by the challenge it held with its steepness and height of 6828 m.

The party consisting of 2 officers, 33 jawans and 2 ladies including the veterans Phu Dorjee and Nima Wangchuk Sherpa reached Giagong on 11 October 1986. Mrs Dikila Gyatso, daughter-in-law of the late Sonam Gyatso also joined the party there. Acclimatization, physical training, rock work and basic mountaineering training was carried out under the guidance of Major T. $tobdan and Captain Gopal Singh. For this purpose, 35 members of the team had left Pegong for Giagong on 6 September, acclimatizing for three days at Chhaten at a height of 2400 m and for four days at Thanggu (4022 m), on their way. They reached Giagong on 15 September. Other members of the team joined us at Giagong.

On 15 October base camp was established at the height of 5440 m. It was a 4-hour climb from Giagong; complete equipment and rations were carried to the base camp by the team members themselves. The weather suddenly took a turn for the worse and it became very windy and cloudy. Heavy snowfall started and they had to carry the loads in knee deep snow. It took a number of ferries to stock the base camp since the weather was not favourable and the task was made further difficult due to thick fog and poor visibility which persisted for 2-3 days.

CI was established on 20th at 6280 m. The climb was very steep and strewn with crevasses. Added to this was the factor that most of the members were inexperienced. They were facing difficulty in ice work and in opening the route. It was pre-winter and very strong winds were blowing.
  1. The author's claim of first ascent has been edited out by me as it has had recorded ascents by A. M- Kellas (1910) and T. H. Tilly (1945). See A.J. .196, p. 113 and H.J. Vol. XIJI, p. 62.-Ed.
Dikila suffered from severe headache and two other members had minor frostbite. Rifleman Jiwan Chhetri had a nasty fall and learnt his first lesson in mountaineering; 'whichever leg slips, its always the bottom that gets hurt'. He had a slight dislocation of the hip joint and had to be sent down to the base camp for rest and treatment.

Rations and stores were shifted to CI in four days. Captain Gopal Singh carried out the initial reconnaissance. Simultaneously, reconnaissance was carried out from three different approaches in order to ascertain the greatest accessibility and the best route of climbing the peak keeping in mind the lack of experience of the members. Finally, I selected the northeastern approach.

Now we set about the task of opening the route. Many parties did the job turn by turn. So far the weather had been very favourable and having established CI at the height of 6280 m we were very confident of speedy progress. However, that night we witnessed a devastating wind storm and blizzard, gome of the tents were blown off and almost all the tents were pulled down by the fury of the storm. We lost some of the equipment and foodstuff. The members who had lost their tents and climbing gear had to come down to the base camp. We had established a very efficient radio network and I was monitoring minute to minute progress of the expedition. We rebuilt the camp and decided to attempt the summit from here itself.

The first attempt was made on 26 October by Major Stobdan, with 20 members. The luck was not in their favour and they were beaten back from near the summit only an hour's climb away. There was a heavy wind and blizzard, three members lost their gloves and two lost their snow-goggles in the blizzard.

The second attempt was made by Phu Dorjee with a party of 22 members on 27 October. The wind was again very strong. Despite bad weather, 5 members including Phu Dorjee were successful in reaching the top at about noon. Phu Dorjee had frostbite on his right toe. According to Phu Dorjee,2 the wind velocity was greater than any he had ever experienced before at such a height.

On 28 October Major K. S. Rao and Nima with 13 other members reached the summit at 11 a.m. It was a relatively calm day and they could reach the summit comfortably.

On 29 October Major Stobdan and Phu Dorjee accompanied by Dikila and Angmo and 16 other members commenced their attempt early in the morning at 4 a.m. They all made it to the top by 9 a.m.

A total of 39 members including two ladies successfully reached the top. The achievement becomes more commendable for the young mountaineers keeping in mind the paucity of equipment, the inexperience of the members of the team for whom it was the first exposure to the mountains. The clothing used was the normal ECC (Extreme Cold Clothing) used by the Assam Rifles troops in high altitude areas.

2. Phu Dorje had reached the summit of Everest, without oxygen, with the Indian Everest Expedition of 1984. He died on Kangchenjunga in 1987.-Ed.

Chomo Yummo Expedition

Chomo Yummo Expedition



THE CHO AUI expedition 1986, was sent to Tibet by The Himalayan Association of Japan. The party consisted of 10 members, led by Hiroshi Yashima.

'Choyo is a bull and its horn is Choui’,said the liaison officer, and this seemed to be the right word to describe the shape of this mountain. Cho Aui is pronounced as Choui in Tibet.

From Jabra, Cho Aui appeared neat and tidy, standing in the middle of two grand mountains, Cho Oyu on the left and Chorapsa on the right.

We were fortunate enough to have a chance to climb Cho Aui (7354 m) which is famous as a virgin mountain in Nepal. Moreover, we must admit that we are really lucky since all the members of our party accomplished this first ascent.

In the summer of 1985, we started our plan to climb Cho Aui. Then early in October the executive committee was organized and all the party members were decided in December.

On the way to the base camp, we had a lot of trouble as to transportation and it took much longer than we had expected, which inevitably affected our schedule afterwards. We, therefore, changed our tactics and carried only indispensable things in order to save as much time as possible, while trying to keep the top group making a route.

The base camp was built at a place from where the upper col of Cho Aui could hardly be seen. Screened by Cho Oyu, the morning sunlight came to the base camp at 9.30 a.m. From the base camp to CI, we made our way up the moraine for about 2 hours onto the glacier and across the snowfield for about 400 m, and again way up the snowfield for almost 200 m. CI was set up on 25 September. The place was a point for entering an area with crevasses and there were hanging glaciers on both sides. As the strong wind always blew down from the col, it was not at all a comfortable place to stay.

From CI we went up the snowfield with small crevasses for several hundred metres and came to an area with larger crevasses. Then we scaled a snow wall, made a path through the snow overhang; we jumped across snow bridges and narrow crevasses, and came to a snow wall leading to the col. At that point we decided to change our route, and struck out under and to the left of the col along the snow wall with a succession of Himalayan folds.

The route was on the snow and ice wall and about 250 m long After traversing about 100 m to the left under a cornice just below a ridge, we came to the ridge where the south wind from Nepal was blowing strongly. The thin ridge stretched upwards and was intricately connected to a rock ridge leading to a great rock. C2 was set up on the steep slope in the rift of the cornice, to avoid the wind and was completed on 2 October.

On 11 October, Endo, Shikoda, Emura and Matsuki left C2 at 6.00 a.m. and by 9.00 a.m. they reached the point upto where they had made a route the previous day. They were delayed there by a reversed rock fault with soft snow which obstructed their way. Eventually they got to the upper part of an area with deep snow. The slope leading to the great rock became considerably steeper, and it was really tough to plough through the deep snow as high as the waist, or sometimes even the chest. This hard labour continued until about 5.00 p.m. Considering the worsening weather, bad route, and unexpected delay, they finally decided to bivouac. Vertically going down about 50 m from the ridge, they dug a cave in the cornice and made a small bivouac site for the night at an altitude of about 7300 m.

12 October. Fair weather. The long night was over. The wind from Nepal was as strong as ever and it whipped their faces. The summit ridge was quite thin. About 4 hours after starting out, at 12.59 p.m., they reached the summit of Cho Aui.

Two days later, on 14 October, the second group consisting of the remaining 6 members, Okubo, Yamada, Ishikawa, Sato, Ya-shima, and Onodera left C2 and stood at the peak at 2.44 p.m. Thus all of us succeeded in getting to the top of Cho Aui.

Photo 46

 Cho Aui.

Cho Aui.

ChoAui Pk.

ChoAui Pk.

PEAK 7016 m

The Italian Himalaya Mountaineering Scientific
Expedition, 1986

MY SEARCH TO single out an interesting but yet unclimbed mountain in the Himalaya, brought me to discover the existence of a 7016 m peak which had been noted by a Chinese scientific mission from Lanchow Glaciology Institute. This mountain is situated at the head of the Batura glacier (Karakoram), 4 km northeast of Kampire Dior and was quoted on Schneider's outdated map as having an altitude of 6931 m. Not being visible from the valley below it remained unexplored and without name.

The purpose of our expedition called 'Himalaya '86' was multiple. There were mountaineering and exploration aims along with-scientific studies in medicine, geology, glaciology, vegetation and animal life. Our group of 14, even if it was made up of people skilled in both mountain climbing and scientific research, was still a large one.

On 3 July 1986, we left the village of Pasu in the Hunza valley, together with 178 porters, and in 8 days we covered the whole Batura glacier.

On 10 July, we set up our main camp on a desolate serac formation situated at 4450 m and 5 km from the foot of the unnamed mountain, by the aid of five high altitude porters.

On 12 July, CI was set up at 4950 m and on 15 July, C2 at 5400 m, just under the southern face. The bad weather slowed down the climb on the wall, which was a 45°-50° slope of ice and snow up to 6600 m and then a steeper and rocky zone almost tc the summit.

On 21 July a tent was set up at 5900 m (C3) which was later swept away by the blizzard. Owing to the bad weather, no activity was possible until 26 July. On that date the climb was resumed.

On the 29th, a group of climbers moved from C2 (5400 m), toward the summit for the final ascent. They were Alessandri, Capassi and Mancinelli, while Tansella, Nibid and De Sanctis came up from behind. At 8.30 a.m. the first group had already reached the altitude of 6600 m. Suddenly they were blocked and pushed back by the bad weather conditions and the excessive difficulties of the last tract. This ended the attempt from the southern slope.

On 31 July, from C2 Tansella and Giampietro explored the western slope, pushing, north they noted a new way to reach the summit passing through the northern ridge of the mountain. This way was much longer but it seemed easier. They installed again, at 6000 m, another C3(B). The following day, in order to observe better the western and northern parts of the mountain, they climbed up to the top of another virgin peak, estimated to have an altitude of 6572 m (Kampir Dior North) by the Chinese. It was situated 2.5 km west of Peak 7016 m and 1.8 km north-northeast from Kampire Dior.

On 2 August, Alessandri, Capassi and Mancinelli reached C3(B). At midnight together with Tansella, they began the final assault of Peak 7016 m. They moved toward the saddle of the snow-covered northern crest (about 6800 m) which they reached at 7.30 a.m. Then, on 3 August, they climbed the ridge and at 10.30 a.m. they were at the top. We hope this unnamed peak will be called 'Abruzzo Peak'. Abruzzo is the Italian region which all the members of the expedition are from.

While descending, at 6700 m, Mancinelli was hit by a huge rock which broke loose from the mountain and fractured his leg. The injured climber was carried down to 6300 m and the day after to C3(B) at 6000 m. A Pakistani helicopter attempted to recover the injured climber on 5 August, but was held back by bad weather. Only the skill of the pilot made the rescue possible, on the 6th, at an altitude of 5700 m.

Members: Luigi Barbuscia (leader), Domenico Alessandri, Antonio Capassi, Lucio De Sanctis, Filippo Di Donate, Fernando Di Fabrizio, Giulio Giampietro, Geppino Madrigale, Domenico Mancinelli, Evanio Marchesani, Dario Nibid, Daniele Perilli, Bernardino Romano and Antonio Tansella.

Photo 47
Fold-out Sketch 2

Abruzzo Peak', north ridge. On left is the high point reached earlier.

Abruzzo Peak', north ridge. On left is the high point reached earlier.

Abruzzo Peak from west to East

Abruzzo Peak from west to East

Abruzzo Peak from south to North

Abruzzo Peak from south to North


Success and Tragedy

OUR EXPEDITION TO JANNU (7710 m), consisted of Ger Friele, Edmond Ofner, Ferry van Wilgenburg, Rudolf de Koning, Ingo Doornenbal (doctor) and myself (as leader). With 55 porters we set off from Hille on 5 September. Ger Friele and J left Holland a week later, flew to Tumlingtar and joined the expedition at Ghunsa on 15 September, About one and a half days later we reached base camp at 4600 m, on the northern moraine of the Jannu glacier. A beautiful spot with a small stream. The first day we did some reconnaissance and decided to repeat the route pioneered by a New Zealand party in 1975 and finally climbed by a Japanese party in 1976. We abandoned the idea of climbing the very demanding pillar left of this route.

From 21st to the 25th we fixed ropes on the lower pillar upto the snow-plateau on 5500 m. The weather was bad and the climbing rather difficult; up to Vth Degree. CI was established on the top of the pillar. After a few days rest we fixed ropes on the so-called 'Wall of Shadows' (height of 600 m). Climbing the very steep, and partly vertical, ice-couloirs was fantastic climbing - technically very difficult. On 3 October we descended back to base camp; C2 had been established at 6100 m, and fully equipped with climbing material and food for the rest of the climb.

On 9 October Edmond and I started from C2 for the summit. The first part after the camp gave some difficult rock and ice-climbing (vertical rock and a vertical ice-couloir), afterwards we came onto the large snowfield and the difficulties eased. We first bivouacked at 6700 m and the second night on the ridge to the summit (7250 m). There I discovered I had frostbite on both feet. Idmond left this bivouac at midnight on the 11th and reached the lummit that day at 6.30 in the morning. At 11.30 he was back and we descended to our 3rd bivouac at 6600 m on the same day.

In the meanwhile Ger and Rudolf reached their 2nd bivouac at 7100 m (their 1st bivouac was at 6400 m). Next day when Edmond and I descended to base camp, they reached their 3rd bivouac at 7250 m. On 13 October they left for the summit (Ferry returned due to high-altitude sickness), and they were on the summit at 1.15 p.m. and they returned to their 3rd bivouac-site. The day after they descended to C2. At 6.00 p.m. we had a short contact by walkie-talkie and they were 60 m above C2. From then on we did not have had any contact, and we could not see them any more. On 15 October Ferry went up to look for them and he discovered their bodies at the foot of the 'Wall of Shadows' at 5500 m. We concluded that they must have been hit by falling ice while descending the last 60 m to C2 on the 14th soon after we had talked to them on the walkie-talkie. Ferry buried the two bodies on the mountain in a crevasse on the snow-plateau.

In fact we had had a very successful expedition until the tragic accident. In a very short time we climbed the technically difficult route, partly in Alpine-style, without oxygen and the help of Sher-pas, with a small group. Everything is however overshadowed by the death of our two companions Rudolf and Ger.




OUR AIM WAS to climb the south face of Makalu. This face was first tried by a strong team from Yugoslavia in 1972, without success. In spring 1974, an Austrian team made an unsuccessful attempt. In autumn 1974 an international expedition also failed. Finally a strong Yugoslavian team, using oxygen, succeeded in climbing the south face.

We wanted to climb the south face without oxygen by a small, strong and tight group; four male climbers and one female support climber.

Two years of organisation and fund raising finally brought us to Kathmandu on 4 March.

It took us sixteen days to reach base camp from Hille where the truck dropped us. On our way to base camp we had to cross the Barun la, a col that was still in winter conditions: knee to waist deep snow forced us to three days of trail-making before the porters could pass the col.

Base camp, 4900 m, was situated on a very sunny and lovely meadow in full view of the south face.

After two days we pitched the first tent of CI at 5900 m. The way to CI was over the moraine of the Barun glacier and a grass and rock buttress - easy going terrain.

After CI we had to cross a hanging glacier, climbing a steep rock buttress and further over the glacier to the foot of a prominent snow-ridge. This was the site where all former expeditions had their C2. We had decided to make our C2 at the end of the snow-ridge where the face really started. We dug a big snow cave, our C2, at 6700 m after fixing the snow-ridge and some other parts below it.
The cave was big enough to have four people sleeping comfortably and gave us enough space to store all our gear and food.

Ten days after reaching base camp we had fixed ropes up to 7000 m, but progress began to slow down.

During the next few days it was bright but stormy weather; day after day we went up the fixed ropes trying to cover new ground but the wind and spindrift made it impossible. At the end all of us went down to base camp. The storm lasted for another week, the face most of the day covered under a white curtain of spindrift. Finally we decided to go up again; the state of CI was not as bad as we expected, only one tent was ruined, the other tents were okay. In C2 the tunnel entrance of the tent was blown away and there was a hole in the roof; repairing took a day.

The next day we continued to fix ropes to the C3 site over mixed terrain with some traverses - really enjoyable climbing. Finding a suitable place for C3 wasn't easy; the ledges we could dig were not wider than 60 cm. In the meanwhile it was snowing and storming again, so we went back to the ice-cave. Two of us went down, one with acclimatization problems and the other with gastroenteritis, but went up again the following day to the site of C3 and were able to construct a platform with snow-blocks wide enough for our ‘one and a half person’ tent.

Progress remained slow, fixing 50-100 m a day, with several stormy days in which we couldn't climb at all.

Seven weeks after reaching base camp we had reached an altitude of 7600 m, the site for our C4. We all went back to base camp; what to do?

Still 600 m of difficult climbing before we would reach the summit ridge and only two weeks left.

Two of us decided to try to go Alpine-style to the summit from the end of the fixed ropes. One of us had too much problems with the altitude and as for me, I just didn't have the guts to try for the summit from our highpoint alone.

So we went up again, two for the summit, the others carrying in support. But again the weather broke, on 12 May at C3 we decided to abandon our climb.




THE ENDLESS RIDGE of the Barun, the very steep descent in the lush forest are already behind. I stop, I look down, I see the smoke coming out of the houses, the green of the fields and I become aware of the life pulsing in the small village of Tashigaon.

I feel nostalgic, my thoughts are going back, on the mountain again, to the many moments of tensions, happiness and weariness. I do not want to accept the fact that everything is finished. I would still like to be up there, at the base camp, at C2, on the Makalu la. The lack of these things makes me feel empty.

C2 at 6800 m, in the night of the 29 April everything is real: the cold, the thirst and the weariness. The day that has just gone, instead, seems to have passed only in my mind. The long preparations in the morning, the steep couloir, the short halt on the Makalu la at 7400 m seem only a dream. I still hear in my mind Claudio's words 'today it is not possible any more to reach the top, it is too late, we better go down to rest and will come back after a few days.’

Since we decided to climb without high altitude porters we could not stay at C2 too long, the food and the gas were not enough. Also the bad weather conditions we had to handle almost every day would not have let us stay in high camps. So going down meant base camp.

A stiff and lifeless body of a climber, lay on the vast plateau of Makalu la. His face, white and impassive was like a warning, like he was saying to me 1 dared too much, remember that your mind here goes slowly like your steps, you don't know it, but when you realise that all your strength has gone it is too late.' It is true, I feel strange, but all the Himalayan climbers talk about this feeling of mixed detachment, happiness and satisfaction. Being there is great, I do not feel the tormented fright that I have already experienced on some other mountains.

Though I was eager to go up, I offer a very weak resistance to Claudio's decision, he persuades me, and we go down.

Why? May be up there the desire of relaxing in a safe tent has been stronger than any of my ambitions? My determination was not so strong as I thought? Many Ctuestions, Many answers.

Base camp. The weather has got even wonse. Every night we go to sleep hoping the next day would be better, but that never happens; it is always snowing. How I hate those snowflakes, falling down, dancing in the air, blown by the wind. It is because of them that we are still here, blocked in the tent, being aware of the fact that our concentration and our motivation are slowly fading. The summit is not our emerging object anymore, we are losing heart. Claudio and I realize that we cannot wait anymore. So, though I am not in good shape anymore, having been sick for the last few days and though the weather was not getting any better, we decided to try once more. Walking on the moraine covered with snow is wearisome. I am very slow. We reach the glacier. The snow is deep. I am aware of the fact that my health is not good, that I am too weak. I sit down, turning my back at the mountain; that means I do not want to fight anymore. I feel guilty and angry: because of me, because of my weakness the dream is over also for Claudio. I had to acknowledge defeat.

Tashigaon is now in front of me, the children are running towards us. The people are standing around our gear, chatting and inquiring. I am happy to be here in the green, among people again. Yes, it was wonderful up there, I experienced exciting moments, moments of hard living, moments of great joy, but I am at last ready to accept the fact that they now belong to the past. My mind is free to indulge in new adventures, always looking for the impossible.

23 March 1987: We arrive in Kathmandu. After one week everything is ready and we leave by plane for Tumlingtar.

13 April 1987: The base camp was established at an elevation of 5350 m. The days that followed we took loads up to 5900 m. The weather was always bad; windy and cold.

19 April 1987: Two members, Mose Mercolli and Franco Demarchi, decided to give up and left the expedition. In spite of that and the unstable weather conditions, Claudio Righeschi and Wilma Simonetta agree to continue with the climb.

29 April 1987: Claudio Righeschi and Wilma Simonetta reach Makala la at 7400 m. Since it was already 4.30 p.m., we have a stove and some food there; decide to go down and try to come up in a few days. Team: Wilma Simonetta, Claudio Righeschi, Mose Mercolli and

Franco Demarchi.


Groupe Militaire de Haute Montague Expedition
(Translated from French by Ms. Harsha Toolsidas)

IT WAS ONLY after a grim battle against the elements - violent winds and intense cold - that the GMHM team finally achieved their first success on a peak towering over 8000 m.

Of the 19 expeditions which have attempted the ascent of Lhotse Shar (8400 m) since 1965, only four have attained their objective: two Swiss expeditions, a Czechoslovakian expedition and the French GMHM expedition. This might perhaps give an idea of the atrocious conditions surrounding this peak situated under the terrible winds of Everest.

Another successful attempt was made by Capt Alain Esteve, leader of the GMHM, and Sgt Eric Gramond, who established a new world record of jumping in para-hang glider.

Progress of the Expedition
On 27th March, the advance party arrive, in Kathmandu in order to make contact with the support team, to proceed with the tedious procedure of clearing the wireless equipment fifam the customs; and to buy the remainder of the provisions and equipment.

The other members of the expedition landed in Kathmandu on 2 April. The whole group rejoined at Lukla, at 2800 m, situated in the valley of Khumbu. From there, after a trek of five days, they reached the site where they set up base camp on the west bank of the Lhotse glacier (5200 m). 3200 m above, a stormy wind was blowing on the face of the Lhotse Shar. This made for particularly severe weather conditions at this high altitude.

Capt Esteve had divided the group into three teams who would take turns to get the equipment into place on the mountain.

On Lhotse Shar, the alpine technique could not be used due to the steepness of the route and the violence of the wind. What needed to be done here, was to fit the mountain with fixed ropes, which would facilitate the work for the Sherpas and would allow the climbers to descend securely to the camps even as they neared exhaustion. This vital rope would prevent the climbers from getting lost on the mountain when they were enveloped in clouds.

On 15 April, the base camp was set up at 5800 m. On 20 and 21 April one of the teams installed C2 at 6500 m. There they set up a depot at 7050 m for the storage of the equipment which was needed for the construction of C2. Two successive avalanches buried C2 completely, as a result of which the climbers were compelled to install a new camp, 300 m lower down.

On the first of May, C3 was ready for the roped party and till the seventeenth, numerous attempts, all unsuccessful, to install C4 at 7600 m were made; the wind was too violent and the snowfall kept increasing. However the fixed ropes were installed upto 7300 m. Some of the equipment as well as 4 bottles of oxygen were dispatched to this altitude.

Taking advantage of a relatively quiet spell in the weather, on 8 May, Capt Esteve and Sgt Gramond just managed to take off in their para-hang glider from the lower slopes of C3 and landed near the base camp. A new world record in para jumping was thus established at 7000 m.

On 17 and 18 May, the first team attempted to climb to the top of Lhotse Shar from C3. It was excessively windy and only Sgt Gramond managed to reach upto a height of 8200 m. This was in spite of the grave risks he faced due to the absence of a fixed rope for a duration of 900 m of uneven ground.

On 20 May, one more effort was made by Capt Esteve, Adjutant Royer, Mdl Tedeschi and Sherpa Senge, to reach the top. The team left C3 at 11.45 p.m. on the 19th. At 7600 m Capt Esteve and Adjutant Royer had the beginning of frostbite on the feet and were forced to turn back.

Later, at 8300 m Sherpa Senge, frightened by the blasts of wind and huge cornices, refused to go on, leaving Mdl Tedeschi to continue alone to the top. At 9.30 a.m„ the news of the victory 'without oxygen', was received with delirious joy by the support team who were working at base camp.

On 22 May, Adjutant Mailly leading a team whose morale was high, left C3 to climb to the top. But the wind increased in violence and they were forced to abandon the climb at about 7600 m.

After this last attempt, the climbers began the dismantling of the camps and the retrieving of the equipment, since the monsoon was approaching and within a few days the mountain would be quite inaccessible due to the snow.

During this spring of 1987, mainly due to these particularly unfavourable weather conditions, only 5 of 25 expeditions in the Nepalese Himalaya achieved their objective.

The GMHM expedition was one of the three which succeeded in ascending an altitude of more than 8000 m, in this spring of 1987.

Team: Capt Esteve Alain (leader), Capt Donzey Guy, Dr Bigard Xavier, Adjutant Royer Pierre, Adjutant Mailly Lionel, Segt Chef Tresallet Gerald, Mdl C. Tedeschi Yves, Segt Benard Philippe, Flematti Robert, {Semblanet Daniel, Nima Norbu and Rajeev Sharma.

Photos 48-49

On Lhotse Shar. Ama Dablam in background

On Lhotse Shar. Ama Dablam in background

Para-gliding from Lhotse Shar.

Para-gliding from Lhotse Shar.




SLOVENE - KAMNIK TOWN Himalayan expedition from Yugoslavia planned the ascent of Lhotse $har (8400 m) by its southwest ridge. The expedition also had in its programme to reach the middle summit of Lhotse (8430 m). To reach that middle summit we would have to traverse an extraordinary hard high altitude ridge, all of it above 8000 m.

We left Yugoslavia on 27 February, Eight days later we left Kathmandu and reached our base camp on 14 March. We put tents on the same day at 5250 m. During the next ten days we fixed ropes upto 6300 m. We also put CI (5850 m) and C2 (6300 m). On 5 April, we established C2 (6900 m) high and same day Nadvesnik and Stremfelj first reached an altitude of 7000 m and the next day they fixed ropes to 7170 m, just under the south face of Lhotse Shar, which was overcome two days later (8 April) by Bence, Plevel and Prezelj. The weather turned for the worse and because of snowstorms we lost 9 days. From 10 April to the 15th we experienced continuous bad weather preventing any climbing activity.

On 11 April, the leader of French army expedition visited our base camp and asked for permission to climb Lhotse Shar by our route and our ropes. We refused as they did not have permit either for this peak, but despite that, the French team went up our route and using our fixed ropes. We think that they are very unfair climbers and unfair people also.

The weather continued to be stormy and a lot of snow had fallen on 20 April. Bence reached the highest point of our expedition, 7450 m. There was a lot of new snow on the summit slopes and because of the danger of avalanches, Bence climbed down to C3 with considerable difficulty.

We tried to establish C4, but because of bad weather and a lot of snow, we didn't succeed. On 22 April, Benkovic fixed our last ropes at 7350 m in a snow storm. Later, climbers reached a C3 few times on 12 May, Bence reached 7300 m again, but he couldn't put up C4. Weather was still bad and because of that, we concluded our expedition, after 62 days efforts.

The expedition failed because of extremely bad weather - high winds and snow-storms were continuous and the resultant danger of avalanches compounded by fog made the venture highly risky - in spite of which we had ventured upto 7450 m.

Members: Vincenc Griljc (leader), Dr Peter Painter (doctor) and climbers Filip Bence, Janez Benkovic, Vincenc Bercic, Tomo Cesen, Milan Gladek, Silvo Karo, Rado advesnik, Janko Plevel, Marko Prezelj, Andre j Stremfelj and Janez Sustersic. Altogether 13 men and 5 high altitude Sherpas.



WHEN ANALYZING the data about Pumori we observe the following :

There are seven different routes (three of them SE face) and also route variation of 250 m - 300 m long approximately on the & SW ridge.

1962: SE ridge to NE ridge, Swiss-German expedition.

1972: South buttress, French expedition.

1973: SW ridge, Japanese expedition.

1974: W face, Japanese expedition.

1982: SE face and NE ridge, American expedition.

1984: SE face and NE ridge, American/Australian expedition.

1985: SE face and NE ridge, Catalan (Spanish) expedition.

We must remark that the original route of 1962, the longest of all routes has not been repeated or even attempted, while the Japanese route of 1973 is the most used. There have been nine ascents.

The south buttress has been climbed three times, the last ascent has been made by Jeff Lowe in a solo climb.

On the SE face there are three different routes that have only some parts in common.

On the west face there has been only one ascent made by a Japanese expedition in 1974.

There has not been any ascent by the north face yet, though at least one attempt has been made (some members of the Catalan expedition to Everest in 1985 tried to climb the Pumori north face).

The first ascent by a woman climber was made by Claudine Lescure, a member of the French expedition of 1975 that climbed the SW ridge. The first winter ascent was made in 1982 by the American expedition led by J. Bridwell.

The first solo climb was made in 1983 by Jeff Lowe following the south buttress.

Year Season Nationality Leader Route Height Reached No. of Ascent Observations
1950 Autumn English C. Houston S face till 5800 m Ascent made to view Everest
1951 Spring English E. Shipton S face till 6100 m Ascent made to view Everest
1953 Autumn English G. J. Mc Innes SE face till 6700 m
1953 Autumn Indian N. Parekh SE face till 6400 m Attempt through Lingtren col
1958 Autumn English/ Italian Gregory/Giglione SE face till 6100 m
1961 Autumn German G. Mehl SE face till 7000 m Death of Mehl, Stauble, Lobsang
1962 Spring German/ Swiss G. Lenser SE/NE ridge 1 17 May, Lenser, E. Forrer and U. Hurlemann
1971 Spring Japanese Y. Mochizuki SW ridge
1972 Autumn French Y. Pollet-Villard South Buttress 2-3
1973 Spring

Japanese S. Nakamura SW ridge 4
1974 Autumn Japanese H. Fujita W face 5
1975 Spring French J. Lescure SW ridge 6
1977 Autumn Canadian Ian Rowe SW ridge 7
1978 Spring Japanese T. Nagato SW ridge 8
1978 Autumn Swiss R. Nottaris SW ridge

(250 m variation)
9-10-11 Death of Chiesa (in Kathmandu)
1980 Autumn Japanese Y. Iwazoe SW ridge 12
1980 Autumn Italian T. Klingedrath SE face till 6500 m
1981/82 Winter American J. Bridwell SE face NE ridge 13
1982 Autumn American S. Meter W face
1982 Autumn French E. Decamp South buttress 14-15 Descent by the SE ridge
1983 Spring American D. Mclntyre SE face till 6200 m
1983 Autumn/ Winter American Jeff Lowe South buttress 17 Solo climb
1984 Spring American/ Australian G. Bartram SE face NE ridge 18-19
1984 Autumn South Korean (from USA) Ki Hwan Kim SE face NE ridge till 6200 m
1984 Autumn/ Winter American S. Jorgenson SW ridge 20 Death of R. Pierce and R. Wilson
1985 Spring Austrian A. Haid SW ridge 21-22-23
1985 Spring Catalan (Spanish) P. Rodes SE face NE ridge 24


OURS WAS A four-man team from Spain, with Jose Luis Fernandez as leader and Azucena Lopez, Miguel A. Rodriguez and myself as members, to attempt Thamserku (6630 m). For me, it was the first visit to the Himalaya, although I have been an active climber elsewhere in the world.

We left Spain on 16 September and after the usual days at Kath-mandu to sort out the formalities and purchase provisions, left for Jiri by bus on the 28th. We started our trek from there and reached Lukla on 5 October where we had a change of porters as those originally hired refused to go further. We left the next day and reached Monjo on the 7th. This is the last habitation before going up the valley to the base camp. A fresh strike and yet another change of porters. On 8 October, Azucena left with four porters and the rest of us followed the next day with three more. Fortunately we were a lightly loaded party (only 350 kg) and were able to establish base camp on the 10th comprising 3 tents and a stone hut. The weather was bad - snow-storms and mist.

13 October, we recceed a route up the glacier upto the wall of the west face.

14-19 October, bad weather only allowed us to mark the route with cairns of stones - lost in the mist several times.

19 October, we found ourselves short of food for the days we expected to be at and above base so Luis and myself sped back to Lukla for more provisions, whilst Miguel and Azucena start ferrying loads to a depot at the foot of the wall (5200 m), and continue the work till our return from Lukla on the 21st. Bad weather continues.

22-25 October, acclimatization and study of the initial part of the route on the wall.

26 October, we start our climb - we bivouac at 5700 m.

27October, we climb through couloirs and rock at angles varying from 65°-90° and finally bivouac (5900 m) in an ice-cave carved out by ourselves. We lose a camera and our medical kit which slipped away whilst we were digging the cave,

28October, our next bivouac at 6300 m was on the face, hanging in hammocks fixed to the ledge. Clear sky but intense cold. High hopes to reach the summit next day, a relatively easier 350 m above.

29October, have been having problems with our stoves for some time. Now the ultimate tragedy - the gas has leaked out and there is no way we can melt the snow for our fluid intake. {So near the summit and yet so far, We hastily descend by rappeling down our route of ascent. We reach the glacier at 10.30 p.m. and the base camp the next morning at 3.00 a.m.

31 October, back at Lukla whence we catch the plane to Kath-mandu and are home on 10 November.



GAURISHANKAR (7145 m), 1986

The Basque Himalayan Expedition

WE LEFT KATHMANDU by bus to Charikot with 700 kg of load, 25 porters, a cook Sirdar and mail runner. From the entrance to Bhote Kosi valley where we arrived on 13 September, it took three days to reach Lamabagar.

The monsoon was operating in full force, and during the march through leech-infested bamboo forests we had to replace the weaker of the porters.

After four very hard and miserable days we set up base camp (4300 m) on 18 September on the glacier.

Two days later we established our first bivouac at 5500 m and eventually moved it higher to 6100 m.

Note: Translated by Anne Igartfburo.
The weather was terrible and for the next fifteen days we were restricted to the base camp. Even under these conditions we made acclimatization attempts on two virgin summits nearby of 5430 m and 4830 m.

In the first week of October we made a fresh attempt on our target but could only reach our bivouac site. On 6 October we left the mountain.


19 8 6



a small body in the shade of your

gigantic heart.

You were so, and that is how we will

always remember you.

MY EXPEDITION'S COMPANIONS, who preceded me in the approach to Annapurna II, were surprised by the heavy snowfall.

The Sabje khola was a white carpet to a depth that reached the knee. The porters not able to bear the cold decided to walk out and to break their contract before the base camp was reached,, which was at 4800 m.

Of course, the members of the expedition realized very well that this would double their work, and from that moment on, they would have to do everything themselves until they reached a different base camp at 3800 m, a thousand metres below the previously planned final base camp to be set up.

Just two Sherpas and the liaison officer collaborated actively, loading the parcels and organizing the materials.

With only four men and in a light style, it was decided to attempt Annapurna II, through the northwest arete, A challenge hard to understand, by those who do not know the giant distances of this" huge arete, constantly swept by high winds and frightening storms. Two other members would film the ascent with a 16 mm camera. The seventh member would take care of the base camp, attending to the radio and the weather reports. The two Sherpas, would limit themselves to the base camp domestic chores and look after the equipment and the food.

This is the way things went, until a month and a half later I arrived at the foot of Annapurna II. My companions' work was worthy of high praise. For then they had installed the outpost camp, and three high camps, the last one at 7100 m, at the beginning of the final arete, almost three kilometres long.

The arduous work was not free of problems. 'Jose, the ascent is very hard/ that was the first thing they told me. 'Here the distances seem to have no end, they tire you out and you became awfully discouraged. The route has no serious technical problems, but it turns into an apparently endless slog enough to frustrate anyone.' Although we knew this, this climb meant a lot to four friends. We therefore did not think there was any need to make a fuss.

There were more problems.

The cold, and the hurricane strength winds were our worst enemy. They did not stop for an instant.

This did not surprise me very much. I already knew, when I saw from a distance the arete and the final pyramid of Annapurna II. Gigantic and alarming snow whirled, violently across the mountain. I was able to see for myself even better from the base camp. It was an incredibly impressive sight. To make matters worse, the wind had seriously damaged some tents. They presented an awful sight and were in a pitiful state. What a shame!

Phurba Kitar, our Sirdar, nodding, approved my friends' suggestions. Without understanding our language, he knew perfectly what we were saying. A deep worry was reflected in his face, so that during dinner, he offered to go with the climbing members of the expedition. Sherpa Phuri did the same. Four years ago, he had almost reached the summit of Annapurna II with a powerful Korean expedition of forty members. Why sacrifice two Sherpas, relegating them to unimportant tasks? Why not use them to reinforce the attack team? In this way, the two Sherpas perfectly understood our ideas, even better when they saw us smiling and drinking tea to our success.

'If the weather is fine, we are sure that we will reach the summit' said Pako and Jesus, convinced. I was amazed to find that the high morale of my friends made it possible for us to cope with everything.

Two days later, 30 April, with the first start of the good weather, Pako, Takolo, Maiz and Jesus, confidently left for the high camps. Prom that moment on, a radio-telephone would allow us to keep in touch with one another at agreed times. We were also able to follow their progress from below with telescopes.

During the first two days, our friends advanced without any difficulties. They carried on strongly, encouraged, inspired and convinced that the good weather would solve everything. That evening Pako and Maiz gave us the first great thrill, saying that they had reached the 7100 m camp, leaving Takolo and Jesus at the lower camp.

However, our euphoria only lasted a little while. Unfortunately large storm clouds, threateningly and suddenly appeared on the blue Himalayan skies.

From that moment on, step by step, all of our fears were being fulfilled:

'Camp III calling base camp. Over’

'Carry on, carry on. Over'

'The wind is unbearable, as well as the cold. ... It is almost impossible to advance under these conditions. . , . Over'

'Ride it out and be patient. . . . Over’

The next day, Pako's faltering voice arrived at the appointed time,

'The situation here has rapidly deteriorated. Over’

'Here below as well. Wait and withdraw at the first opportunity. Over’

'Not yet - We are strong enough to wait. We will call you back at midday. Over’

At midday the situation was the same, so we postponed the contact until the evening:

'Base camp, base camp . . . Over’

Again Pako:

'It is snowing unceasingly. We constantly, have to use the shovels for fear of being buried. The wind is very strong and shakes us violently. It is very cold and icy. . . Over'

We were very concerned about the state of the two companions' health.

'We are all right, waiting for an opportunity to move. . . . Over’

'Here below we are seriously worried about you two. It has been j announced that the bad weather will persist during the next few days. Over'

'We will wait until, tomorrow. ... Over’

A bit later from Pako:

'Are you still on the line? . . . Please answer. . . . Over’

'Yes. . . . We hear you very well. . . . Over'

'Please hold the line. ... Do not leave us. . . . Do not leave us f alone. . . . Please play some music . . . something lively . . . our. music. It would be great to hear it, while we have dinner.'

During dinner time we told jokes, laughing and trying to boost their morale. Anything to make our friends Pako and Maiz, who were going to remain with these extreme conditions (three days at 7100 m), happy.

In fact the worry increases. The radio announces a fresh deterioration, with more storms and snow. Therefore there is no othar option, except that of immediate retreat. Evidently the recent snoW by itself was a serious problem for a possible attack, under those precarious conditions. To cap it all, the equipment, mainly the tents, were seriously damaged. We were not able to do anything, only to withdraw and leave the place without delay.

A week ago, an American expedition, which attempted the same without success gave up its undertaking. A formidable team of nine climbers, some of them professionals, gave everything without success. The bad weather exhausted them. Their decision preceded our final attack, so they were surprised when our four companions left the base camp.

‘It is madness! They have nothing to gain' - they told us. They were so right!

The next day we made Pako and Maiz give up their attempt. It upset them, but there was no point waiting for an opportunity that would never come. Only their iron will and their high morale allowed them to stand firm.

'We are leaving right now. Get dinner ready, because we will be at the base camp before night’ - they told us.

The next day while climbing up to the advanced camp in the company of Takolo and Agustin Arenas, we felt as sad as if we carried the whole world's troubles.

Tears came to our eyes removing those tents. Everything possible had been done, sparing no effort, suffering from pain and cold, withstanding that monotonous and icy loneliness.

It was true that we did outshine ourselves and the adventure meant for us an important success, but it was true as well, that we were coming back empty-handed, without the peak to offer to those who supported us.



THE CLIMBERS and EXPLORERS CLUB, Delhi organised an expedition to Nanda Khat, 6611 m (21,690 ft) in August-September 1987. From {Song, our roadhead, we trekked five days to base camp, which was established on the right of the Pindari glacier. Advance base camp was established on a grassy meadow called Sura Kharak. The route was over steep grassy slopes with bits of rock patches. We had to use rope at one point where it had become very slippery bicause of the constant rain.

We recceed the route ahead to CI. Because of very slight snow-fill earlier in the year, the glacier was badly broken and so we could not follow the route taken by the previous expeditions. We climbed a ridge up the first rock band which led to a cone shaped ice formation below the second rock band. At the beginning of the first rock band we established a dump point. The weather would close in and it would start raining by 12.30 p.m. and so we could not climb for the full day. CI was established below the cone shaped formation. We called it 'Cone Camp'. Further on we opened route up the second rock band. The rock is very loose causing a constant danger of rockfall. It took us 4 days to open the route. By now, we had lost 5 days because of the weather. Not a single day had passed without rainfall. We established C2 above the second rock band on a strip of moraine running along the top of the rock band. (Traill's Pass can be safely approached from C2 of Nandakhat. Although it means that you have to climb higher than the pass and then go down to it, it is safer and easier as you avoid most of the crevasses and seracs of the glacier). Three of the members occupied this camp in order to open route to summit camp. On the following day, the weather packed and we had continuous snowfall for the next 48 hours. Snow had piled up on our tents and the rock band was covered, making it even more treacherous. We had to wait one more day for the snow to settle and for additional rations to be ferried Up. By then we had lost 7 days because of the weather and rations were low. We decided that we would carry our equipment, tentage, food and fuel for two days and make an attempt immediately. Summit camp was established and that night we prepared for a summit attempt. Unfortunately at 4 a.ms the clouds had covered us and we decided not to move up.

The weather had played a cruel joke on us. It cleared up by 9 a?m. but it was too late to move up. We went up for a recce of the route ahead. We realised that we had lost our chance. Only one day's ration was# left with us and it would take at least two more days for the summit. Also the uncertainty of the weather prevailed. We decided to move down the next day.

Photos 50-51-52

Changuch (left) and Nanda Kot as viewed from last camp on Nanda Khat. 						(Divyesh Muni)

Changuch (left) and Nanda Kot as viewed from last camp on Nanda Khat. (Divyesh Muni)

On the way to summit camp of Nanda Khat. Laspa Dhura (5913 m) on left, and Dangthal (6050 m) in backgroun

On the way to summit camp of Nanda Khat. Laspa Dhura (5913 m) on left, and Dangthal (6050 m) in backgroun

Changuch (left) and Nanda Kot viewed from C 1 of Nanda Khat.

Changuch (left) and Nanda Kot viewed from C 1 of Nanda Khat.

PEAK 6210 M (Chaturangi Glacier), 1987


THIS PEAK WAS climbed twice previously, first by a West Bengal expedition in 1968 and then by an American expedition in September 1984. The West Bengal team climbed the peak 6210 m under the false impression that it was 6407 m high peak and named it as

'Radhanath' which lay to the north of the peak 6210 m. The later team climbed the peak 6210 m on their way to peak 6407 m upto which they could not reach.

Our team consisted of five members - Usha Page (leader), Jayant Tulpule (deputy leader), Bharati Kale, Bipin Raje, Vijaya Gadre.

They started from Pune on 11 May, 1987 and reached Uttarkashi on the 14th and arranged for porters. On the 15th they started for Chirbas. On the 16th they camped 25 m lower down the pilgrim route, near the P.W.D. rest house on the bank of river Bhagirathi. The landscape towards the east was dominated by Bhagirathi, I, II and III peaks. On the 17th, under light snow conditions they camped at Gaumukh.

On the 18th they climbed up the right Gangotri glacier moraine and followed the middle moraine.. While wading safely on the middle moraine they could look around and admire the sheer rock pillars and Shivling, Kedar Dome and Kedarnath. They reached Nandanban, a plain beyond Chaturangi left lateral moraine, before it gets merged into the Gangotri glacier, in the late afternoon at 14,000 ft. There was deep snow and water was not available. Since Gaumukh camp, the water was made available by melting snow and thus the stock of kerosene diminished at a rapid rate.