EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
THE UNKNOWN PEAK IN TIBET
Japan-China Friendship Joint Expedition to Labuche Kang (7367 m), 1987
The expedition to Labuche Kang (7367 m) in Tibet by the Japan-China Friendship Joint Party was carried out from September to November in 1987.
This expedition was sponsored by the Himalayan Association of Japan (HAJ) and the Tibet Mountaineering Association (TMA). Labuche Kang (7367 m) lies between Cho Oyu (8201 m) and Xixabangma (8012 m) in Tibet. This peak was fifth highest of all virgin peaks in the world. Eric Shipton had a distant view of Labuche Kang from the Menlung la in 1951 during the reconnaissance expedition of Everest. H. Harrer has also mentioned Labuche Kang in his book Seven Years in Tibet. It is said that he could see the Gosainthan and Lapchi Kang on his way to Lhasa from Kirong in 1945. But, I think that he mistook Gang Ben Chen (7281 m) for the Labuche Kang.
We left Japan on 10 September, and arrived at Lhasa on the 12th via Beijing and Chengdu.
On 15 September, we left Lhasa by a jeep and a bus with members, translator and other Chinese supporters. We drove about 380 km to the west and arrived at Xagaze. We ferried across the Yarlung Tsangpo Jiang (river) at this place. Yarlung Tsangpo Jiang takes its source from western Tibet, runs east for 1500 km through the Tibet plateau, and crashes through an immense gorge, to descend southwards. This river comes to be called Brahmaputra in Assam.
On the next day, we drove about 310 km to the southwest and arrived at Langgolo village. On 16th, we set up our base camp at Langgolo village at the height of 4500 m. We stayed in the base camp for three days, rest and acclimatization. On 20 September, we set up advance base camp (ABC), It was at 5300 m by a beautiful moraine lake which is 21 km from the base camp.
23 September, we began climbing. We went along the moraine lake to scout for the next camp site. Cl was made on 28th. It was at 5600 m on a glacier which is about 7 km from ABC. 6 October, we set up C2 at 6150 m on a snow-plateau. We had to climb up a snow wall which is the north face of the west ridge. And at last we stood on the hoped-for west ridge. We fixed about 1000 m rope on our route between C2 and C3.
We had a heavy snowfall from 17th to 19th. Cl was hit by an avalanche, but our members were all safe.
25th, A. Deguchi, M. Furukawa, K. Suto, CX Tanabe, Wangjia, Gyala, Daqing and Laji established C3 at 6900 m on west ridge and remained there.
The next day, the same team started for the summit. After about five and a half hours they reached the summit of Labuche Kang. They had to set about 700 m fixed ropes between C3 and the summit. From the summit they were treated to a spectacular view of the landscape below. To the southeast they could see Chomolungma, Cho Oyu and many other peaks. In other directions they were able to see the peaks of Xixabangma, Gaurishankar and others. After finishing their ceremony on the summit, they returned immediately to C3 and continued down to C2.
27th, the second team set out for the summit at 9.30 a.m. in a strong wind. S. Ogawa, Y. Hashimoto, T. Takahashi, Lhaba, Pupu,. Akapu and Ton Lu reached the summit at 11.58 a.m. in spite of the bad weather conditions and strong wind.
Miss Laji is only seventeen years old and her's is a new record for the youngest summiter of a seven thousand virgin peak.
We would like to extend our thanks to Chinese Mountaineering Association and the Tibet Mountaineering Association from whom we were fortunate enough to receive a lot of support.
Members: Cheng Tian Liang (leader), Kinichi Yamamori (deputy leader), Ataru Deguchi (climbing leader), Wangjia (deputy climbing leader), Sadao Ogawa, Yasuji Moriyama, Hidekatsu Furukawa, Keiichi Suto, Yasuhiro Hashimoto, Osamu Tanabe, Toshiya Takahashi, Akapu, Gyala, Daqing, Lhaba, Pupu, Ton Lu,. Laji.
Labuche Kang north face. East ridge on left and north ridge on right. Note 1
Labuche Kang west rigde from north. Route of first ascent.
Lt. Col. G. D. B. KEELAN
THE BRITISH SERVICES EVEREST expedition attempted to. climb Everest from the Tibet side and via the West Ridge in the pre-monsoon period earlier this year. It narrowly failed to get to the top in spite of three well founded attempts, the last of which got within 250 m. The membership was made up of 17 soldiers, 10 sailors and Royal Marines and 9 airmen. It also included a TV crew from Granada and an artist. Planning was based on two broad requirements. Firstly the size of the climbing party would be increased to dispense with significant numbers of high altitude porters. We would do the lion's share of conventional portering ourselves though in the event six Sherpas were employed and they gave excellent service. Secondly oxygen was to be used and thirdly the assault was to be in a traditional seige style.
The first phase of the plan was to establish base camp properly with a cardboard domed hut as the focal point and get the solar power generator and the radio antennae up. Whilst this was being done other groups acted as guides and escorts to get the stores required higher on the mountain up to a dump on the Rongbuk glacier which was just short of the advanced base. A mixture of yaks and human porters from expedition members were used. A very necessary intermediate camp was set up on a pleasant grassy meadow between the two at the traditional Tilman's Lake Camp site. It was still very wintery in these early stages and dust and cold contributed to a spate of chest infections. A Buddhist prayer ceremony was set up at base to bless the expedition and it involved chanting, rice and 'Grouse' whisky. At the height of the proceedings, a savage gust of wind flattened the tents in the camp and we hoped that this was not an omen, The advanced base was finished by 22 March at 5980 m.
The next phase involved forcing the route up the 1200 m spur that leads onto the West Ridge. Merv Middleton's group started this and got the third camp in by 27 March. They fixed 850 m of rope the first 100 m of which was up 70 degree water-ice. They were relieved by another group led by David NichoUs which worked out of C3 and fixed more of the route up unpleasant potential avalanche slopes and got the next camp in by 7 April at the top of the spur. The weather throughout April was generally good though the winds were high and at times climbers fixed to ropes had their feet blown out from under them. Whilst the lead climbers were forging the route ahead others were carrying out the less exciting but essential stockpiling lower down. On 12 April, Henry Day, the deputy leader and another group involving Nigel Williams started to move up to C4 with a view to pressing the route out to C5 which was 1.5 kms along the West Ridge. It is a high exposed traverse over some difficult snow slopes as many will know and they finally got there on 15 April. The camp was fixed at 25,600 ft on the only available flat area which unfortunately also acted as a wind tunnel. The bivouacs were mostly snow holes which take longer to prepare but at least they do not flap in the wind like tents.
We were now in a position to consider summit bids and planning for these started in earnest. Once stocking of the camps was complete it took about eight days to prepare a summit bid and the first of these were scheduled for 29 April. The selected summit parties included NichoUs, Middleton, Maxwell, Garratt, Moore and Mcleod. In the event the bid failed because their support group was unable to establish the top assault camp high enough up in the Hornbein Couloir. The going over the difficult broken ground above C5 and faulty oxygen equipment were to blame. The high point reached was 8380 m.
These exhausted men were withdrawn all the way back to base and another assault was mounted for 9 May. AH seemed set fair this time. The camps were restocked and the assault parties and their supporters reached C5 by 6 May. However there had been a sinister deterioration in the weather including two-feet of snowfall which was affecting conditions and when they got to the huge snowfield leading to the Hornbein Couloir they found dangerous unstable conditions and there seemed no chance of getting across. With great reluctance they too withdrew but having left valuable stocks high up close to C6.
The stage was therefore set for a last and final attempt and this was planned for 17 May. However the normally settled weather expected in mid May was just not there and high winds were recirculating the snow and piling it up in unstable masses in the high couloir. The summiteers this time were Nicholls, Mcleod, Day and Hughes. Maxwell had to retire with frostbitten feet which were a jet black colour. They and their support party reached C5 by 15 May but the build up was not quite right and a further day was spent stocking thus delaying the summit bid by 24 hours. This proved crucial in the event. The summit group were reduced to 3 when Day dropped out and they spent an uncomfortable night on 17 May in the top assault camp which in the event was slightly lower than hoped. Unexpectedly the weather turned at about 2200 hrs and a huge storm developed sweeping snow down onto the tents which had to be dug out every 20 minutes. They were lucky to survive.
Next morning things were worse but Nicholls and Mcleod set out in the storm and forced on up and over the crux of the whole climb and arrived on the summit snowfield 250 metres from the top. It was in a fierce blizzard at about 8590 m, they had an anxious radio conversation with the leader and the options were to go on and get to the top which would have been achieved but with the near certainty that they would not have got oft or to withdraw to fight another day. In fact the decision was clear and with much sadness and disappointment they withdrew.
So ended this largest of British Services expeditions. Successful in terms of getting to the top it was not - but only just not and for the right reasons. Successful it was in terms of a contented, efficient and cohesive group. A reflection of this is the fact that the first question asked on return by the major sponsor was when were we going to finish the business and could he support the next venture.
Everest West ridge from north: Route of British expedition. Note 2 (Lt. Col. G.D.B. Keelan)
An Indian Attempt
KANGCHENJUNGA IS THE highest mountain in India and the third highest in the world. Girivihar Nepal Expedition 1988 (GNE), under the leadership of Vasant Iimaye, aimed to climb the main summit (8586 m) of the Kangchenjunga massif. Our proposed route lay on SW face, above Yalung glacier.
After more than two years of preparation, the expedition took off with an advance party leaving Bombay on 22 February 1988. Their main tasks were to supervise the transport of the expedition's load from the roadhead in Nepal to the site of the BC and if possible open the route up to Cl. More than 8 tons of the expedition load had already reached the roadhead in Nepal. The approach march from here is one of the longest, taking at least sixteen days. But what with porter problems and spells of heavy snowfall hampering the movement through Yalung glacier they could reach BC only on 24 March. Meanwhile, the main party left Bombay on 13 March. By 6 April, the whole team of twenty four was assembled at BC. BC was situated atop a hill near Pache's grave on the right bank of Yalung glacier, at the base of the SW face of Kangchenjunga. Load ferrying started in earnest from 7 April.
Camp 1 (5900 m)
Hrishikesh, Franco and Jayant had opened the route upto Cl by the end of March. The climb started with a 60 m ice-wall above the water-gully north of BC. Having gone up the ice-wall, a climber was faced with a plateau, referred to as the Field, which was a huge network of criss-crossing crevasses. The three quarters of a kilometer long route along the Field led to the base of the Hump Ridge (western buttress). Three distinct humps could be made out along the ridge. The route climbed the first straight up while on the second, it skirted the edge. On the 2nd Hump, snow and ice lay in utter chaos where bits of ropes from previous expeditions stuck out from impossible places. Three tents of Cl were put up in a line along a snowy ridge atop the 2nd Hump, facing west. BC could be easily contacted over walkie-talkie. While Anil Kumar and Charuhas Joshi ventured beyond to open the route further, load was ferried to Cl.
Camp 2 (6400 m)
The 3rd Hump rose above Cl in a rocky cliff which was called the Rocks. A narrow ridge connected the site of Cl to the base of the Rocks. Above the Rocks was an ice-wall that rose a vertical hundred feet towards a cluster of seracs that overhung the wall. Spindrift and powder avalanches were a regular feature of this section while avalanches crashed down quite often. At the base of the overhanging seracs a traverse led leftwards to the left flank of the Hump Ridge. To gain the site of C2 from here, a climber had to wearily walk across a jumble of snow-troughs. There was a convenient snowbridge spanning a bottomless crevasse. After each snowfall, climbers had to wade through high deep snow in the troughs. C2 faced east, atop the 3rd Hump. Eventually four tents were put up at this site on platforms carved in ice at different levels. The scale of the SW face could be appreciated for the first time from C2. Ahead loomed the four summits; of the Kangchenjunga massif above the Great Shelf, that famous huge ledge-shaped plateau hanging suspended across the mountain. The summit ridge plunged down southwards to Talung Saddle and then rose to meet the beautiful pyramid of Talung. Snow and ice and rock from the precipitous slopes of these mountains drained into what is called as the Plateau.
Camp 3 (6800 m)
To gain the Plateau from C2, it was necessary to traverse along the vertical rocky, eastern slope of the Hump Ridge. This was (he Rock Traverse. The 2 km long route across the Plateau headed straight for the base of the upper icefall. This walk was quite exhausting on sunny days, when the Plateau, enclosed as it was, .seemed virtually like a furnace to climbers trudging through the .slush of soft snow. C3 was almost exactly in the middle of the upper icefall. A narrow platform to accommodate four tents in a line was carved across the 40° slope of an ice-hump, and the camp was occupied on 25 April.
Camp 4 (7275 m)
The route to C4 continued up the Upper Icefall with long weary stretches over the huge ice-walls. Movement almost came to a standstill for three days till 2 May, because of bad weather. It now snowed everyday. On 8 May, a storm lashed the SW face for more than ten hours. C3 suffered the most. Three out of four tents collapsed, one torn to shreds by lumps of ice and snow being: hurled down the icefall.
camp 5 (7680 m)
With C4 established, an important stage of the expedition was reached. Hrishikesh and two HAPs opened the route to C5 which was on the Great Shelf. From C4, the route proceeded to climb up on to the Shelf and then jump over many crevasses, two of them very big, to reach the lone 5-man tent put up at the camp pitched at the base of Central peak avoiding avalanche prone area.
Camp 6 (7725 m)
The Yalungkang end of the Great Shelf ended beneath the rock feature Sickle. The route from C5 headed straight for the Sickle over the undulating, crevasse-ridden Shelf. Taking advantage of comparatively good weather on 11 May Charuhas went to C6 along-with two HAPs. A three-man tent was put up. On 12th mom-ing, they were greeted by heavy snowfall. Finally when the weather cleared at 9.00 a.m., the three started. The Gangway connects the Great Shelf to the col between Yalungkang and Kangchenjunga and from below the col the route branches off the Gangway to head for the main summit. Charuhas's team started climbing up the Gangway, fixing rope. As they reached 8100 m, conditions worsened. They had to retreat.
Due to the prevailing weather conditions, a summit team could leave for C6 only on 14 May. Uday Kolwankar and two HAPS, who made up the summit team, took eight hours for the same journey. When they arrived exhausted at C6, they found the lone tent battered and caved in. So the next few hours were spent in re-setting the camp. Uday decided to postpone the summit attempt on the 15th and utilise the day for resting and preparing for the attempt. On 16 May, Uday and his companions got up at 2.30 a.m. and by 5.30 a.m. were ready to go. They started following Charuhas's route and soon reached his high point. After that they were seen heading up the Gangway when clouds blocked the view.
Meanwhile, San jay started down on 16th thus starting the withdrawal of the expedition. Clouds lay heavy on the SW Face and they had blocked the view of the summit attempt. Vasant who had returned to BC on same day to arrange things for the return, opened the walkie-talkie set at BC every half hour after 3.00 p.m. There was no contact.
On the 17th at 7.30 a.m., the regular call-time there was no contact. It went on till 2.30 p.m. when atlast Uday spoke. His fingers and toes were affected by frostnip and those of the HAPs by chillblains; they were returning to BC as soon as possible. Their batteries had been too weak for their voices to carry in the bad weather.
They had proceeded beyond Charuhas's high point without fix-. ing rope and by 1.30 p.m. had reached about 8440 m. Clouds had already shrouded the summit ridge of Kangchenjunga and now it began to snow, accompanied by whipping gusts of wind; the resultant chill reaching the very bones. Uday and his companions waited for the weather to clear, but in vain. By 2.30 p.m., all three realised that their fingers and toes were numb. They decided to return.
Sanjay had left C2 on 1 May. But by the time he reached C4, dry cough had started giving him trouble; he had also grown a little weak. So, he started down from C4 alongwith Anil on the Kith. Due to snowfall and Sanjay's weakness, they reached C3 only at 3.30 p.m. and had to stay there for the night. On 17th Sanjay, Anil and Jayant left C3. They had to come down the vertical icefall on which the freshly fallen soft snow slid off when .stepped on. The climb down to the Plateau sapped Sanjay's strength so much that he could not proceed further without help. While Jayant stayed with Sanjay, Anil ran ahead to C2 to summon help. Doctor, who was at C2, sent three HAPs with warm clothing and hot drinks to help. Sanjay, Jayant and the three HAPS then brought Sanjay across the Plateau on a make-shift sledge made of a Karrimat. Now there were two main hurdles before C2, the big crevasse between the Plateau and the Rock Traverse and the ladder on the Traverse. By now it had started to snow. Sanjay himself offered to handle both the hurdles. He jumped across the crevasse and was helped across the Traverse till the ladder. By 7.00 p.m., at the top of the ladder, Sanjay was too exhausted to proceed further. The patch was such that nobody could do much, in those exacting conditions. In those awful circumstances the group valiantly struggled to get Sanjay down the ladder. But, at 7.30 p.m., Sanjay Borole succumbed to hypothermia brought on by exhaustion and exposure with terminal stress. The devastating news of Sanjay's death reached BC on 18th morning. Everybody sat stupefied in one of the tents at BC, desperately seeking an explanation and solace in each other's company, but seeing the same anguish and feeling of utter helplessness reflected in each face.
Respecting the locals' custom whereby cremation could not be curried out above a certain temple near Ramser, the last rites of Sanjay were performed on 23 May, on the banks of the river Simbua, 60 km away from and 3300 m lower than C2. The team members left BC in groups to start the return march. Putting the huge experience gained on Kangchenjunga to further use would lie the best way of paying homage to a mountaineer like Sanjay.*
Jannu seen from Kangchengunga. Note 3
Looking south from Kangchenjunga; Talung (7349 m) in foreground and Kabru peaks behind. Note 3
PARAGLIDING FROM THE SIXTH
HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN THE
AT 10.15 a.m, ON 21 SEPTEMBER, six members of the second assault team of Kamoshika Alpine Club Cho Oyu Expedition team reached the summit of Cho Oyu. At 8201 m, this Himalayan mountain is the sixth highest in the world.
The summit is not a knife ridge but a large undulating snow-plateau just like a huge wave with the peak at the southern end. A huge cornice overhangs the northern side. Apart from the northwest side where our team climbed, there are vast, extremely steep, blue-black walls of two thousand and several hundred metres. To the east, the black outline of Everest accompanied by Lhotse could be seen.
Several members of this expedition, the leader Michiko Takahashi (formerly Imai), Akio Hayakawa, Kenji Kondo, and I were also the members of Japan Everest winter expedition team in 1985. Kamoshika Alpine Club also attempted Everest in the winter of 1983. Both expeditions failed due to the intense weather conditions. In 1985, the team reached 8450 m. After that, the leader decided to gain the summit of a high mountain and chose Cho Oyu for this autumn. Takahashi, the representative of Kamoshika Alphine Club, accepted this plan. His nickname is Dump-san (Dumptruck) because he is really energetic and he weighs 85 kg. He had already gained five summits of more than 7000 m and succeeded in all expeditions for which he had acted as a leader. He is a man of great ability and good luck.
Dump-san had recently been enthusiastically involved in paragliding and expressed his desire to paraglide from the summit. At first, everyone was surprised to hear such an exciting and adventurous plan and in admiration finally agreed to it,
Dump-san made many flights for 150 days this year in training for Cho Oyu. 'I am accustomed to climbing high mountains, but to achieve the record for paragliding at the high altitude I need to increase my experience and skill in paragliding,' said Dump-san. He trained in the Japanese Alps in practice for the severe Himalayan weather conditions.
After gaining the summit, we began to prepare for this exciting
A colourful paraglider spread on the snow made us forget that we were on the summit of an 8000 m mountain. The area of the paraglider was about 25 square metres. It was made of nylon and weighed 4 or 5 kg. It was shining on the monocolor world of snow and rocks.
Dump-san carefully checked the direction in which he would jump and the wind conditions and made a runway on the southern slope. Two Sherpas helped us to dig up the knee-deep snow and we checked the lines which suspended the body one by one. Dump-san put on a safety belt and prepared for a flight. Kato and I supported him by lifting both ends of the parachute to get full-blown.
Dump-san waited for a good wind. 'As the air is thin, I can jump even if the wind velocity is 10 metres;' he said. He began to run, lifting the paraglider up against the head wind. But he failed as the wind began to turn and the parachute did not open.
He tried again and again. Each time he regained his breath by using oxygen. He tried again. This time he could not run properly because he got out of breath and floundering in deep snow.
Then the lines got entangled. We could see that Dump-san was irritated. We prayed and shouted in our hearts. 'Please take a flight!'
Dump-san himself thought he would better give up flying, but at the fifth try, he finally soared up into the sky.
Seeing that Dump-san gliding as if he were sucked into the glacier, Kato kneeled down on the snow. Amazing! I was struck with his dare-devil courage. It was 11.45 a.m.
This was about a ten-minute flight and the direct distance from the summit to the landing point was about 5 km. The descent altitude was about 2600 m, this altitude difference requires four days to ascend and two days to descend. This flying broke the world record of flight made by French Pierre Gevaux from Gasher-brum II (8035 m) in 1985.
After climbing, Damp-san lost 10 kg and suffered from palsy in his hands and legs for a while due to the rapid descent. 'If I couldn't've flown, I would've been an ordinary braggart,' laughed Damp-san.
Summary of events:
The team left Lhasa for Xigatse by six jeeps, one minibus, and three trucks.
Seven Sherpas joined the team at Tingri. The main camp was settled at the tip of Gyabrag glacier (4950 m).
The base camp was established above Gyabrag glacier (5700 m). The team carried the loads of about 2.5 tons in total to the base camp in three relays by 20 yaks.
Cl was established at 6350 m, above the northwest-by-west side of Cho Oyu. Afterwards, the bad weather continued and the team spent those days in carrying the loads to Cl.
C2 was established. Taking the route at the right end of the ice-fall which drops to the northwest-by-west side, the team put up C2 at the bottom of the west side grand cirque (7200 m). As the weather improved, the route was advanced.
C3 was set up at the bottom of the rock band (7700 m), the highest part of the west side. The team easily passed the route through a couloir, just above C3, to the rock band.
Hayakawa and Kondo gained the summit without using oxygen. They advanced to the southern side of the vast snowfleld of the summit, having some trouble in climbing in the knee-deep snow. At 12.15 p.m., four hours and half after they left C3, they reached the summit. Suddenly and luckily, Everest and Lhotse appeared through the rift in the dense fog. They fixed national flags of Japan and the Republic of China and then descended to C2,
Okura, K. Takahashi, Ohtani (TV Asahi), and Sherpas, Nima Dorji and Ang Dawa reached the summit. Ohkura, Kato, Ohtani, and two Sherpas did not use oxygen. After reaching the summit, Takahashi descended directly about 2600 m in altitude from the summit to the base camp by paraglider.
Leader M. Takahashi, Kobayashi (TV Asahi), and three Sherpas, Lhakpa Tenzing, Ang Phurba, and Mingma Tenzing gained the summit. That is, all the members of Kamoshika Alpine Club reached the summit.
The base camp was withdrawn.
The team returned to Lhasa.
Members: Michiko Takahashi (formerly Imai) (leader), Yoshitomi Ohkura (co-leader), Kazuyuki Takahashi, Akio Hayakawa, Kenji Kondo, Tomoji Kato.
Paragliding from summit of Cho Oyu (8201 m) Note 4
CHO OYU EXPEDITIONS, 1988
DR GERHARD SCHMATZ and O. FORNO
(1) The German Ascent (Dr Gerhard Schmatz)
We climbed Cho Oyu over the west face and the northwest ridge (Chinese route).
On 4 April, 1988, we left Kathmandu and passed the Nepalese/ Chinese border at Kodari/Zhangmu (Friendship bridge). The next day we drove to Tingri. For acclimatization purposes we stayed there some days. Then we went by truck to Kyetrak.
On 16 April, we started the approach with the yaks. We reached BC (c 5400 m) only on 20 April, since the yak-drivers went on strike several times.
- Cl at c. 6300 m on 25 April
- C2 at c. 6700 m on 2 May
- C3 at c. 7350 m on 9 May.
We had no Sherpas, we used no oxygen and no walkie-talkies. We made the ascent in the alpine style.
On 10 May, at 8 a.m., Hans and I started for the summit. About half an hour later Heinz followed us and again half an hour later, Stefan. After a relatively short time, Heinz turned back. His fingers were frozen. Stefan continued up to the so called 'yellow band' (7500 m). There he turned back because of health reasons.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Hans England I reached the summit. We came back to C3 around 6 p.m.
Although it was a stormy night, Stefan decided to make another attempt the next morning. Heinz refused to do so because of the very low temperature, but he stayed in the camp in order to wait for Stefan.
At noon time Hans England I started to descend. We spent another night at c. 6300 m and reached BC on 12 May.
In the night of 13/14 May, Heinz Zembsch arrived in the BC and told us the following:
Stefan Worner had reached the summit on 11 May around 6 p.m. and returned to the camp around 10.30 p.m,
The next morning, Stefan was unable to descend. Heinz tried by all means to move him - it was impossible. Apparently, Stefan died of an oedema in his brain.
In the afternoon, Heinz decided to start the descent, since he was in a very bad condition. He had spent three nights at an altitude of more than 7300 m. He spent the night of 12/13 in a bivouac on about 6700 m and reached BC only in the following night.
From 14 to 17 May, we tried to get to Stefan's tent. Both attempts had to be stopped because of very strong snowfall and danger of avalanches.
In the same time, an American tried to climb higher, but he too had to stop and to turn back because of the very bad weather conditions.
(2) The Italian Expedition (O. Forno)
After having skied down McKinley (6194 m), Pic Lenin (7134 m), Huascaran (6768 m) and Xixabangma (from 7000 m), I could not resist the temptation of attempting the descent of an 8000 m mountain. From the pictures that I saw, Cho Oyu, 8201 m, seemed the ideal mountain, to make my dream come true. On 5 April, with seven people very strong in skiing, I left Italy, direct to Kathmandu and then Tingri. When we reached the base of the mountain, we found out that skiing from the summit was unfortunately impossible, because of lack of snow from about 7500 m to 8100 m: too bad! We went up anyway and brought two pair of skis up to 7000 m, just in case. . . Skiing was definitely impossible, but what we did, I believe it was great: without Sherpa and without support of oxygen, after only 25 days from our departure from Italy, we reached the summit. Four of us, out of eight, were successful, and this also was a good result, considering the many health problems the other four had.
The expedition story, in summary, went about this way. On 5 April we left Italy. We were eight: Gerolamo Gianola, Ugo Gianola, Erma Pomoni, Flavio Spazzadeschi, Sandro Benzoni, Giuliano De Marchi (doctor), Lino Zani and myself, Oreste Forno (leader). We reached Tingri through Nepal/Khasa on 10 April. The acclimatization started in Tingri, where we spent 4 days. On 14 April, Ugo and Gerolamo Gianola had to go back to Khasa (border village) to recover from a beginning of pneumonia and acclimatization problems; De Marchi had to go with them. The rest of the group reached BC at 4860 m by truck, on the same day. On the 16th, supported by yaks, used for the transportation of the equipment, we left for the ABC, which was installed on 20 April at 5350 m. On the 19th De Marchi and Gerolamo Gianola were back with the group, but on the 20th Benzoni had to go down to BC, because of acclimatization problems; Pomoni went down with him.
On the 21st De Marchi, Zani, Spazzadeschi and myself went up, and after a 7 hour ascent we installed Cl at 6000 m just above the base of the mountain, on the NW side. The same day we went back to ABC. On 24 April Gerolamo Gianola had to go down to BC, because of problems with his eyes (retina haemorrhage). On the same day the other 4 of us left for Cl. On the 25th we installed C2 at 6500 m below the icefall on the ridge, and in the evening we went back again to ABC, where Pomoni and Ugo Gianola had returned. On the 28th all six of us left for Cl. On the 29th De Marchi, Zani, Spazzadeschi and myself reached C2. On the 30th De Marchi, Zani and Spazzadeschi went up with one tent at 7000 m, at the end of the icefall; I had decided to stay one more day at C2, and then reach my mates the next day at C3, which was supposed to be elevated at 7400 m. On 1 May, instead of elevating C3 at 7400 m, my companions left early in the morning to attempt the summit, which was reached by all three between 4 and 6 p.m. In the meantime (same day) I reached the camp at 7000 m, where I spent the rest of the day waiting for my friends to return. They were back at midnight. At 1 a.m. (2 May) I left for a solo ascent for the summit. This was possible because of the moon. The temperature ranged in that night between -30° and -40°C; a very strong wind blew all night. At 9 a.m. I was on the summit, and at noon I was back at C3, where my friends were waiting for me. My friends left at 1 p.m. (2 May) for the ABC; the weather seemed good, so I decided to stay one more day at C3. In the night the weather changed and I was caught by a bad storm, which lasted 36 hours. I was able to go back to ABC only on 5 May. There were no more attempts for the summit from our others. Ugo Gianola and Pomoni went up to 6500 m to remove C2; Gerolamo Gianola and Benzoni had left earlier for Italy.
AMA DABLAM EXPEDITIONS
ANNIE WHITEHOUSE and STEVE LANGLEY
1) Ama Dablam Expedition 1987 (Annie Whitehouse)
THE AMERICAN 1987 AMA DABLAM expedition was successful in reaching the summit of Ama Dablam. The team, led by Annie Whitehouse, was a tightly knit and experienced group committed to the goal of a safe, quick alpine style ascent, Team members Included Todd Bibler, Michael Dimitri, Eric Reynolds, Sandy Stewart and Clay Wadman.
The team established Tawache base camp on 9 November in Pheriche (4243 m), a small village located in the Imja valley between Tawache and Ama Dablam. For acclimatization the climbers adhered strictly to the 'climb high sleep low' theory. There was much sleeping and climbing done in the days preceeding the climb. Before the initial reconnaissance of Tawache began Todd Bibler soloed Pokalde (5806 m) and Clay Wadman soloed Lobuche (6119 m).
The proposed highly technical route on Tawache, a steep couloir up the northeast face was lacking ample ice formation and had deep, heavy snow to the base, thus making the route unfeasible. The climbers decided to proceed with their next objective: the classic southwest ridge of Ama Dablam.
On 19 November we established base camp at Mingbo (4500 m). Mingbo, a summertime yak grazing pasture was also the site of the famous Silver Hut used in 1961 by Barry Bishop's American Medical Expedition for high altitude physiological testing. The hut Is long gone, but the high snow covered meadows provided an excellent base camp site.
As we were all well acclimatized, we began climbing the day after our arrival at base camp. Our plan was to climb in two-person teams using no fixed ropes or prepared camps. Sandy Stewart and Eric Reynolds were the first team to reach the summit on 24 November. Climbing unroped along the gendarmed ridge of rock, snow and ice they arrived at a level spot where they were able to spend the first night. The next day they led over 10 pitches of belayed climbing up mixed ice and steep rock up to 5.8 in difficulty. That night they arrived, carrying all their equipment with them, to an ice-shelf at 6400 m nearly out of food and fuel, they left early on the morning of the 23rd for the summit. Sandy led another steep pitch of blue ice and then they climbed unroped up 60° snow-flutings, reaching the summit at noon. They were blessed with good weather and conditions as well as spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu and other Himalayan giants from the summit. After a short rest, they down climbed and made one rappel to reach their high camp of the night before. After a night without food or drink they down climbed and rappelled the ridge and reached base camp a couple of hours after dark.
Todd Bibler and Michael Dimitri had left base camp the same day as Eric and Sandy. Michael was feeling the effects of reduced oxygen at those elevatons and was unable to keep up to Todd’s pace. Michael decided to return t bace camp, as he left
decidedly worse as he went up. After 2£ days on the mountain they reached 5950 m. Michael decided to turn back, so he and Todd made their way down to base camp. Todd started up the mountain again on 25 November, hoping to catch Annie and Clay who had started their ascent on 23 November.
Todd caught up with and passed Annie and Clay the day on the day he left base camp. Annie and Clay were climbing at about the same pace Eric and Sandy had climbed. But Todd was planning to make an even quicker, solo ascent. Todd gained the summit the same day as Annie and Clay. As soon as it was light, Todd left his crevasse bivouac site while Annie and Clay started for the summit from their bivouac site about 300 m below Todd's. On Thanksgiving day, 26 November, Todd reached the summit alone at 10 a.m. Annie and Clay were just at the base of the steep snow-fluting when they met Todd on his way down. The day was bitterly cold and windy, so Annie and Clay continued upwards reaching the summit at about noon while Todd continued his quick descent to base camp.
Todd solo and Annie and Clay following a day behind made their way down the ridge. They rappelled and down climbed the rock and ice, exposed to long drops below.
To Sherpas and Tibetans Ama Dablam is a sacred mountain, representing an actual God. Lamas often wear a pouch slung over their right shoulder. In this pouch they carry a picture of a particular God; this pouch is called a Dablam. Ama is the Tibetan and Sherpa word for mother. Ama Dablam sits contentedly with the ridges being her outstretched arms and her Dablam (the hanging glacier at 6610 m between the southwest and northwest ridges) for all to see.
The small size of our expedition in combination with each member's unique strengths and contributions made this expedition enjoyable and highly rewarding. Ama Dablam's sheer slopes proved to be a beautiful and challenging climb.
(2) Canadian Ama Dablam South Ridge Expedition, 1988
Up until 8 April everything was going perfectly, all six members of the team were fit and well in C2 atop the Red Towers. We had enjoyed two weeks of perfect weather and had been moving a little faster than planned.
The initial frustrations with weather problems which had prevented the planned flight to Lukla and scuttled a planned warm up climb were forgotten.
We came into Namche light and planned to buy most of our food, fuel and kitchen supplies there. This worked well and seemed to be far cheaper than the alternatives of getting supplied in either Canada or Kathmandu.
By 26 March Kansha (Kunde) our Sirdar had gotten us to a good height (4880 m, same site as the 1982 American Women's expedition used) base camp which gave us easy access to the south ridge. And one trip with yaks had established a cache at 5510 m. just before the start of the 3rd class section of the ridge. Cl was occupied (Power and Langley) at 5760 m on 29 March, Situated just before the start of the 4th class climbing we found a number of readymade tent platforms. We then fixed all the ridge to the small hanging glacier on the east side of the ridge, this proved just large enough to chop two tent platforms. Up to this point all climbing had been done in runners or rock shoes, the rock being beautiful dry pitches in the 4th class to 5.5 range. As soon as the line was fixed, loads moved up very quickly as team members could move at their own speed on their own sechedule. It was possible to go from base camp to C2 and return in a single day. C2 (5940 m) was occupied on 3 April (Power, Dickey andLangley).
Tom and Geoff led the crux pitches on the Yellow Tower in perfect weather. On dry rock wearing Fires it was delightful 5.7.
The top of the Red Towers turned out to contain a number of perfect tent platforms on dry ground so we moved C2 from the rapidly melting platforms on the tiny glacier to the KOA quality campsite atop the towers.
Tom, Geoff and I fixed the mixed pitches on the 2nd step. Because of the exceptionally dry winter much of what should have been ice turned out to be steep angle rubble. Geoff put in a tense day leading the worst of this, but was rewarded with some fine steep ice-pitches leading onto the mushroom ridge.
By 9 April we had stripped Cl, fixed half way to C3 and had all members acclimatized and ready to go in C2. Peter, Eory and Charlie had done the lion's share of the heavy work moving equipment up the mountain and were keen to get out in front.
That day Charlie and I went out to the end of the fixed rope at the top of the 2nd step and fixed the Mushroom Ridge and the Ice Step. The Ice Step turned out to be much easier than expected, never exceeding 60 degrees but the weather was changing and by the time we finished we were in a snow and electrical storm. Reversing the Mushroom Ridge was tense as we felt the ground currents surging through our bodies. When we got to the second step the lightning had stopped but blowing snow had cut visibility, still we felt an amazing sense of euphoria, the technical climbing was over, only a 610 m 50 degree slog separated our high point from the summit.
Charlie started the 150 m rappel down while I waited for his signal to follow, after a long wait I presumed that the wind had prevented me from hearing and I started down. Switching ropes 3 times I suddenly found that the rope had been completely severed. Panic gripped me as I looked 180 m below me and saw a familiar shape in the snow.
Geoff and Rory took charge of the difficult task of reaching the body and establishing that Charlie was indeed dead. It was well past dark before they returned and we settled down for a troubled night. Shock, apathy and the weather prevented us from moving the next day. On the 11th we all returned to base camp.
Tom and I returned to the mountain on the 13th, the snow was still falling but we felt we had to try again. To quit would mean admitting that this was a stupid, pointless sport and yet we did not have quite the spirit to wait until the weather cleared. We gambled that by the time we were setup in C3 the snow would have stopped. The first night we made C2 but the storm grew in strength. The next day the step was plastered with snow and we had to jug the whole way to the Mushroom Ridge. The food cache Charlie and I left had been vandalized by birds so after setting up C3 in an ice-cave we had a small supper and settled: down for a cold night.
The storm was still raging the next morning but with no food reserves we decided we had to give it a go. After ploughing our way past the only major crevasse system between us and the summit Tom started the lead beneath the Dablam which would lead us into the ice-flutings leading to the top. The snow was still falling and avalanche conditions extreme, we had to wonder whether the summit was worth 3 lives. Charlie would understand that we didn't just quit but indulged the mountaineers' fantasy that if we exercised good judgement we could live forever.
We abandoned our attempt at about 6610 m on 15 April.
Tom and Susan Mitchel were married on 18 April by the Rim-poche in Thyangboche.
If you ever get to our base camp you'll see a chorten, Charlie lives there now, say Hi to him from me.
Members: Steve Langley (leader), Geoff Powter (deputy leader), Peter Roxburgh (doctor), Charlie Eckenfelder, Rory Mclntosh and Tom Dickey.
THE LAMOSANGU - JIRI ROAD AND SOME ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL EFFECTS*
P. SILCOCK, J. CASHMORE, A. JONES,
J. WARE and C. PILLING
THE CONSTRUCTION of the 110 km Lamosangu-Jiri road has linked the settlement of Jiri to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. The reduction in travel distance has considerable implications upon the trade and economy of the town which is situated in the lower foothills of Eastern Nepal.
The construction of the road seems to have encouraged immigration into the area. The indigenous population is derived from the Tibeto-Burmese hill people, with the predominance of the Jirel caste, particularly now in the area of Jiri Bhandar. The Jirels live in small farmhouses and practice subsistence agriculture.
The research was conducted in four settlements located in the Jiri valley. The area described as New Jiri refers to the frontier type linear town which has appeared directly through the effects of the road. This is expressed in the junevile house ages, and its location on the end-point of the road itself.
Jiri Bhandar forms a collection of traditional Jirel farmhouses scattered up along the valley slopes behind what is now New Jiri.
Jiri Bazar is located 3 km back along the road, 100 m up the valley side. Having been linked by the road since 1980, one may envisage a stage of development in advance of New Jiri, from which interesting corollaries may be drawn. Since 1961, a weekly market bazar has been held here, which attracts traders from great distances.
In contrast, Those (rhymes with Jose) represents the next settlement beyond Jiri, at the bottom of the valley. This town has traditionally been associated with business and the Newer caste. The effects of the road have been detrimental to this community.
In studying the growth of Jiri in terms of physical expansion, assessment of the overwhelming influence of the road has been possible.From our findings, the following appears to have occur red:
- an absolute increase in the number of buildings throughout the whole valley.
- some evidence of speculative building in anticipation of road completion, and the advantages thereby to be gained.
- a general increase in housing standards, in terms of building materials and amenities now available. Usage is restricted to those with access to surplus income.
- the caste is the main influence in the interpretation of Nepalese architecture.
- the settlement of New Jiri was created by the road link for associated functions such as trade and tourism.
- the economic growth has been unequally distributed, both in spatial and in social terms.
- the indigenous hill people have suffered greater impoverishment.
- in the long-term, the concept of road development in reducing hill-migration may prove invalid.
Our main study location, Jiri, is a linear settlement of approximately 1000 people at the endpoint of the Lamosangu-Jiri road, which is entirely responsible for the development of this settlement. Blaikie (1979) has argued that such settlements develop as important 'break-of-bulk' points for goods brought by road from Kathmandu, for further transportation by the more traditional porterage system. The number of retail/wholesale outlets has grown considerably since the completion of the road and now serves as an important centre of trade for the hill regions of Eastern-Central Nepal. Our object was to examine the nature of this trade at Jiri, Jiri Bazaar and Those.
Clearly there are significant differences in the characteristics of the traders and their trade between the three locations. There are other, more subjective differences however, which cannot be easily displayed as data, but which are equally important.
Here we examine the way that road development has influenced the development of Jiri in long distance trade patterns which connect the economic centre of Nepal (essentially Kathmandu and the plains) with the hill economies.
Because road transport of goods is cheaper than porterage transport, the end of the road will always be the point at which the mode of transport changes; the 'break-of-bulk' point. At this site the opportunity exists for traders, who act as wholesalers rather than retailers, to buy goods, transport them to Jiri by truck, and .Mlore them until they are sold to shopkeepers in the hills beyond the road. Our data shows that a total of 56% of traders in Jiri perform all these roles, of whom almost 75% sell goods on credit and over half buy goods on credit. Nationally, roads permit the introduction of more imported goods into the hills and so ensure the maintenance of a hill trade deficit. The hills, because of population pressure and land degradation, are unable to export as much as they import.
The role of tourism is central to the structure of trade. Our figures showing the proportions of shops selling basic goods (rice, tobacco, grain, mainly to locals) and trekkers goods (drinks, noodles and biscuits, mainly to tourists) do not demonstrate clearly that Jiri is more oriented to the tourist trade. However the Jiri traders offer larger amounts of credit to particular individuals, and a higher proportion of their total credit, to retailers in the tourist-oriented areas of Solu-Khumbu (the Everest region) than to traders in the other villages. This means that much trade in Jiri is seasonal and the busiest period of wholesale trading is at the start of the trekking season in late September and early October. Clearly, credit extensions allow the wholesale purchase of goods in advance of the start of the season.
It is important to note the scale of the credit system which the large wholesalers operate. One Jiri trader lends upto Rs. 45,000 or approximately Rs 1500 to each agent with whom he deals in the Solu-Khumbu. Alongside the United Nations estimate for average National income per head for Nepal of Rs 100 per year, this is a considerable figure. The system works as follows:
The Jiri wholesaler hires a truck, often in combination with other traders in the village, to import Indian and terai produced goods to the end of the road. These are held in his house or rented rooms in Jiri. Often of the average 5 or so rooms rented by a trader, 4 will be used entirely to hold stock. The hill retailer sends teams of porters instructed to purchase goods from a particular Jiri wholesaler and carry them back. These goods may be bought on credit or with cash. The extent to which this form of trade pivots on the endpoint of the road alone is clear from our data: 41% of the 57 traders in Jiri, as opposed to only 1 trader in both Jiri Bazaar and Those, sold goods on credit to porter teams. The demand for space at the end of the road is reflected in the high rents paid in Jiri, averaging Rs 191 per room per month.
Not all credit is offered to porter teams though. There is, in all villages, an important system of credit offered to locals - generally upto Rs 500. This is clearly due to the seasonal nature of agriculturally derived income. This explains why the average numbers of debtors owing to each shop does not follow the same pattern as the average value of the debt. Those, it seems, is the most highly directed of the three villages towards the provisions of localised systems of credit.
The available data immediately illustrate the dramatic impact <>C the developments of the Lamosangu-Jiri road; 93% of all traders in Jiri said they come to Jiri specifically to exploit the prominent trading potential that the road offers. Of the 57 traders that are now fully established in Jiri, only one is a lifelong inhabitant of Jiri itself, and only three others come from the nearby village of Those. This leaves a staggering 53 from 57 traders originating from completely different districts. Conversely, the .settlements of Jiri Bazaar and Those are traditionally established trading settlements, Jiri Bazaar is a small village of approximately 400 people with a weekly Bazaar on Saturdays for local trading in all products, mostly of an agricultural nature. The data illustrates this more traditional factor in that 50% of the present traders have been attracted to their locations because of the road, compared to 93% for Jiri itself. This aspect is accentuated further by the third village of Those, a mere three hours walk from the road, and the nearest off-road village to Jiri. Incredibly, no single trader in Those has been attracted because of proximity to the road, illustrating the dramatic concentration of importance Jiri has established as a 'break-of-bulk' location. All of the major traders in Those are Those-born and bred in comparison with just one trader from 57 in Jiri.
When asked what impact the road had made upon Those as a trading centre, 7 of the 8 major traders indicated that trade had significantly declined since the road's completion, and that several traders actually moved to Jiri from Those. The primary reasons for trade declining are twofold:
(a) Jiri now acts as the major credit 'break-of-bulk' point for Eastern and Central Nepal, formerly held by Those.
(b) The new road itself has reoriented the tourist/trekking industry away from Those, formely a major stopover for Everest trekkers, to a route through Jiri itself.
The impact of these two factors are that porterage and trekking routes have been totally altered to the detriment of Those but to the advantage of Jiri. This is further illustrated from our questionnaires as 75% of Those's traders could only foresee a good future for Those if the road was extended to Those itself.
Many traders of Jiri and Those considered this to be a viable possibility. It is interesting to note from the above percentages that in Jiri there was a uniform division between those who said they would stay if the road was extended (40%) against those who would move with the road (42%). In the more traditional local market location of Jiri Bazaar it is interesting to compare that 86% of existing traders would stay even if the road was extended, compared with just one trader (7%) who said he would move. This more conservative attitude to potential change is probably a reflection of the average length of residence of Jiri Bazaar's inhabitants, on average nearly twice that of Jiri. Perhaps more important is the relationship between whether a trader owns or rents his shop as a determinant of attitudes to his location.
In Jiri, of the 21 traders who said they'd move if the road moved, 17 were in rented premises, allowing the necessary flexibility associated with such an upheaval. Of the 4 remaining owners who said they would move, 2 were from Those and 1 other was particularly aware of the potential difficulties of selling a building in a less desirable location. Conversely, in Jiri Bazaar, of those who were landowners, none showed any desire to move in the future, and of those renting only 1 trader said he would move, and only then if the road went to Those where he originated from.
In short,, during the period since the completion of the road, Jiri alone has become locked into a very new and very different system of economic organisation which contrasts markedly with that of the surrounding areas. Based on a system of credit and long distance trade which requires entrepreneurial skills and capital, it has been associated with the in-migration of a diversity of outsiders and the exclusion of local farmers. They, in particular, have been unable, because of the stringencies of subsistence, to generate the security on credit to make the leap from an economy of use to an economy of cash exchange. The Jiri balloon is of course liable to deflate whenever the road is extended, and the shrewdest of the new traders are wary of investing in ownership of their own homes where their investment is likely to depreciate rapidly if the availability of further aid for road construction continues.
The principal criterion for road construction was cost-effectiveness. In a developing country, labour intensive methods both keep costs down and ensure that local people are involved in the development projects. This has advantages and disadvantages. It reduces total costs but may give rise to varying construction standards. It generates cash for the local economy but temporarily replaces more traditional sources of income, such as agriculture, which may be permanently affected.
The whole nature of trade in the Jiri valley has been radically altered, though the principal beneficiaries have undoubtedly been the in-migrating wholesalers as opposed to local traders and subsistence fanners. The move from traditional locally-oriented trade to a regional and national scale has been based on an intricate credit system extending from Kathmandu to the Solu-Khumbu, between which Jiri acts as the principal cog in the mechanism of economic integration.
Polish Winter 1987/1988 Expedition
The expedition was organized by the Cracow Student's Alpine Club. The members of the expedition met in Kathmandu on 2 December 1987. On 7 December the alpinists and the luggage drove in a hired truck from Kathmandu via Trisuli Bazar to Hryagu. On the next day, the caravan of 64 porters started from liryagu and reached Kyjangin (3800 m) in three days. There the hase camp was established in a local hotel on 10 December.
The primary aim of the expedition was to assault the mountain through its virgin southeast face. However, we had to change our plans due to unfavourable conditions including little amount of snow and ice, rock-fall and serac-fall danger. Thus we decided to try to make the first winter ascent of Langtang Lirung (7234 m) climbing the known route via southeast ridge.
On 11 December the advanced base camp (4250 m) was established on the edge of the cracked Lirung glacier. On 15 December Cl (5100 m) was set up at the foot of a large couloir leading to the ridge. The ridge was exposed and interesting for climbing. From Cl up to C2 we secured the route by fixed ropes. On 23 December, after many efforts to find a place for a tent, C2 was established (5800 m), at the base of a huge fault in the ridge. On 26 December, while climbing the fault Ryszard Knapczyk was hit by falling rocks which broke his shoulder-blade. He managed to descend to the base camp without help.
On 2 Jan uary 1988 C3 (6500 m) was established on the side of wide snowflelds in the summit part. Weather conditions began to change on that day - wind started to blow and ominous clouds appeared.
On 3 January, Czyzewski, Kiszka and Potoczek left C3 at 6.20 a.m. and headed towards the summit. The increasing wind made their advance difficult. At 1.40 p.m. the three climbers reached the summit. The visibility was good. At 5 p.m. they were back in C3.
On 5 January an attempt to reach the summit was made by Dudek and Papaji but strong wind forced them to retreat.
Hence the camps were wound up and on 8 January the expedition started the march down the valley.
Our success was the first winter ascent of Langtang Lirung. Out of twenty expeditions who attacked the summit, we were the sixth to reach it.
The following 10 members took part in it: Mikolaj Czyzewski, Stanislaw Dudek, Janusz Hariasz, Kazimierz Kiszka, Ryszard Knapczyk, Wojciech Maslowski (leader), Jan Orlowski (deputy leader), Ryszard Papaj, Adam Potoczek and Jerzy Friediger (doctor).
Langtang Lirung from southeast. Note 8 (R. Palaj)
SWISS MANASLU EXPEDITION
Expedition team and objective
THERE WERE MANY EXPEDITIONS BEFORE US, who tried to-climb the east ridge of Manaslu in Nepal. But only two of them reached the 8163 m high summit. These two were in 1985 an Austrian and in 1986 a Polish team. My expedition in spring 1988 consisted of 5 men and 2 women. Most of them had experience in the Himalaya and Karakoram before.
In Switzerland, it is quite hard to find supporters and sponsors for mountaineering expeditions. There have been too many Swiss expeditions before us! In this situation, we had to finance almost all expedition costs by ourselves. To keep down costs at a reasonable level, we didn't employ local high altitude porters and most of the food supplies were bought in Kathmandu. We only brought food for the high camps from home. like many other expeditions to 8000 m peaks, we didn't want to use oxygen.
Approach and base camp
After 3 busy days in Kathmandu, we were driven by a local bus to the little town of Gorkha. From there, we started the approach march to base camp, high above the village of Sama. This took us 10 days and on the 4th of April, we reached the site for our base camp. We found a lot of snow at 4500 m. The snow didn't disappear during the whole time up there.
Days on Manaslu
At the beginning, the weather was quite good. This allowed us a steady and fast progress. Above base camp we found snowy slopes, which led us to the big couloir. Through this couloir, we gained the east ridge of Manaslu at about 5600 m. It was quite steep in the upper par