QOMOLANGMA'S NORTHEAST RIDGE 1992

Jointed Japanese-Kazakhstan Qomolangma Expedition 1992

 

 In the spring of 1992, a joint Japanese-Kazakh expedition attempted to scale entirely the northeast ridge of Qomolangma (Everest) to its summit, which is known as the most difficult ridge of Everest which has not yet been climbed all the way to its summit. The four Kazakh members of the expedition were recognized much more experienced than the four Japanese members, except the Japanese leader, Motomu Ohmiya, who was climbed Kanchenjunga and several other Himalayan peaks. For that reason, the Kazakh members undertook mainly to prepare the route with the help of two Sherpas, Nawansg Shakya and Dawa Tsiring from Nepal.

 On April 3, Base Camp was established at 5,200 meters on the East Rongbuk Glacier. Camps 1 and 2 were placed at 5,500 and 6,000 meters on April 6 and 7. Camp 3 was placed as an Advanced Base Camp at 6,500 meters on April 8 near the Raphu La at the foot of the northeast ridge. The route was extended on to the northeast ridge and the Camp 4 was set up at 7,050 meters on April 15 and Camp 5 was set up on the 7,990 meters on April 18. About 4,000 meters of rope were fixed on the rugged ridge and snow caves were also dug at the sites of Camps 4 and 5 respectively against the strong winds by Kazakh members. Everything went well with the expedition so far as this stage.

 As they planned early in May at Base Camp, the Kazakh members set out on May 12 to work out a route above the Camp 5 and to attempt a possible ascent to the summit. They broke through the rugged rocky tract and could pitch the final Camp 6 at 8,360 meters on May 16, nearly at the junction of the northeast ridge and the north ridge. However, unfortunately, they were storm-bound on the following day. The four Kazakhs were stuck at a two persons' small tent, and, on May 18 they had to decide to abandon the ascent to the summit. Two of them descended the ascent route while the other two went down via the North Col and after stay overnight at the American's tent reached the Advance Base Camp.

 Meanwhile, three of the Japanese and three Sherpas set out from Advanced Base Camp on May 15, but, there were storm-bound at Camp 4 for several days. One of the Japanese, Kokubo, suffering from the altitude, descended with Nawang Furba Sherpa. The upward progress of Ohmiya and Hoshi was very slow.

 Although still not adequately rested from their previous effort but knowing that the date for the end of the expedition was nearly upon them, the four Kazakh members left Base Cmap on May 22, planning to spend nights at Camps 3, 4 and 5 and to make summit attempt, bypassing Camp 6 on May 25. Unfortunately, their plan could not be carried out. Ohmiya and Hoshi had continued along the fixed ropes slowly, sending Sherpas Dawa Tenzing and Nawang Shakya ahead. The Sherpas carried four cylinders of oxygen to the final Camp 6 and descended via the North Col, while Ohmiya and Hoshi were forced to bivouc at 8,250 meter high point. They could not move upward any more on the following day, but they began slow climb. Hoshi realized that they were just below the final Camp 6 and he climbed ahead of Ohmiya to secure oxygen cylinders for both of them.

 Notified by radio that Ohmiya and Hoshi had not yet reached Camp 6, Kazakhs left Camp 4 for Camp 5 at 1030 p.m. by headlamp. They reached Camp 5 at 530 on the morning of May 24, where they drank tea and rested until 730, then they climbed on. At 200 p.m. they found Ohmiya alone in a pitiful state three rope-lengths below Camp 6, as he spent three days and nights without a tent. Hoshi was not with him. A hundred meters below Camp 6, Kazakhs found Hoshi's Ju¨mar on the fixed rope and his ice axe leant against the rock. Hoshi was not in Camp 6, where he could have had oxygen. The Kazakh members carefully got Ohmiya to Camp 6 where there were four oxygen cylinders and took Ohmiya descent to the Base Camp.

 During the climb on the route, the members saw a corpse near the top of the second pinnacle on the East Rongbuk Glacier side of the ridge. The body was later identified the corpse of Peter Boardman by the photographs taken by Kazakh, Suviga on the spot.

 In conclusion, the Japanese members owed much to the Kazakh members for all the efforts they rendered to rescue Ohmiya. In fact, Ohmiya had a hairbreadth escape from the jaw of death.

 Lastly, it is quoted the saying of Valeri Khrishchaty, Kazakh co-leader, as follows

 “We walked the last several meters into the camp below the North Col, staggering, at the end of the day. That was actually the end of our joint Kazakh-Japanese expedition. We walked downward from Everest, carrying away in our hearts the pain of the irreplaceable loss of Hoshi and also unrealized dreams of the summit and the hope to come back again some day.

*****

 Summary of Statistics

Area: Qomolangma (Everest) on the Tibetan side

Attempted Route: Qomolangma via the Northeast Ridge to 8,360 meters.

Personnel: Motomu Ohmiya (44), leader, Manabu Hoshi (28, disappeared and presumably died near the high point), Yoichiro Taniguchi (35), Tsuyoshi Kokubo (22), Japanese;Valeri Khrishcharty (40), co-leader, Vladimir Suviga (38), Yuri Moiseev (38),

Viktor Dedi (32), Kazakhs.

 

 Editor's Note

** This summary was written with reference to the report of Motomu Ohmiya and Everest's Northeast Ridge" in The American Alpine Journal 1993.

** According to Mountain INFO/High Magazine, October 1993, Valeri Khrishchaty was killed by an avalanche in Semenovski Glacier of Khan Tengri on August 3, 1993. May his soul rest in peace