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Item #: OP2297B-949
THE EVEREST LHOTSE ADVENTURE Albert Eggler 1957 1st US ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Eggler, Albert
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New York, Harper, 1957, 1st US edition. 222 pp, 25 plates with 31 b/w photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine. 

The story of the first ascent of the fourth highest mountain in the world, and the second ascent of Everest. The official account of the 1st ascent of Lhotse and the 2nd of Everest by the Swiss. The team placed 4 Swiss and 1 Sherpa on Everest's summit, and two on Lhotse. This was the first time two 8000 meter peaks were climbed on one expedition. Even today this is quite unusual.

During the acclimatisation phase, the team climbed several less challenging mountains, as well as a few un-named five-thousand-meter peaks.

After a cold night (-25° C at Camp V), Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger started their approach to the summit of Lhotse (8,516 m, 27,940 ft) on May 18 and crossed into the Lhotse couloir. They reached the crux around noon, and managed to overcome it using pitons.

Six hours after leaving Camp VIa, the two climbers had reached the jagged peak of Lhotse. They stood in the sun on the sharp summit for forty-five minutes. With no place to sit, they had to be especially careful when taking photographs from the peak. The view onto the jagged, desolate ridges of Lhotse and over to Everest was of a magnificent wildness.

Their oxygen was used up, the winds were getting stronger, their hands and feet were becoming numb – it was high time to come down. The climbers carefully edged their way down the extremely steep and exposed slopes of fresh snow, moving one at a time. The large traverse brought them back to Camp VIa. At 6:15 p.m., the two stood exhausted and happy before their empty tent, which had collapsed under the snow. After shoveling out the tent, they ended their tough 12-hour day by crawling inside and into their sleeping bags. Next day, they climbed down the mountain, stopping at Camps V and IV before reaching Camp III, where they quickly recuperated.

The ascent of Lhotse meant that Swiss mountain climbers had reached the summit of an Eight-Thousander for the first time ever.

The ascent of Everest

On May 21, Camp VIa was moved over the Geneva Spur (8020 m) to the South Col (7,986 m). The new Camp VIb was located approximately 100 meters west of the camp set up by the 1953 British expedition. Here, our climbers found many useful items, edible food rations and oxygen cylinders. On the afternoon of May 22, following light snow in the morning, the first rope team set off for the summit: Ernst Schmied and Jürg Marmet with four Sherpas.

The climbers used oxygen in their ascent. After two hours, the team reached the 8250 m point, where Raymond Lambert and Sherpa Tenzing set up their highest tent camp in May 1952. At around 8,400 metres, west of the ridge edge, they found a small depression that was suitable for a tent camp. The four Sherpas were sent back to Camp VIb while Schmied and Marmet set up Camp VII with a small two-person tent.

Because of the strong winds, the tent had to be weighted down with stones and fixed using pitons. Both climbers were well equipped, with an air mattress, a double sleeping bag made of down, a joint bivouac sack made of nylon, a small stove, a summit package full of necessary provisions and five full oxygen cylinders. During the night, the heavy snow weighed the tent down so much that the climbers had to uncover it to avoid being suffocated.

They had to wait until 8:30 a.m. to start their approach. The weather was still very stormy, which made the team doubt their chance of success. However, the winds gradually calmed down, and the two climbers reached the top of the South Summit (8,760 m) at about midday. A ridge of loose limestone with massive overhanging snow cornices led to the main summit. The weather had finally cleared up, revealing clear blue skies.
 
A steep 15-metre-high stage challenged the climbers just below the summit, with a spur leading up between rock and snow. Schmied worked his way up step by step, followed closely by Marmet. At 2:00 p.m. on May 23, both climbers stood on the highest summit on earth for the second time. Schmied attached the flags of Nepal, Switzerland and Bern to his ice pick, while Marmet’s camera recorded pictures of the unique panorama. Marmet is now credited as being the third person to climb Everest, Schmied the fourth.
 
The winds were calm, allowing them to take off their oxygen masks and stay on the peak for nearly an hour. Then they were suddenly surrounded by dense fog, forcing them to make a fast descent. At 5:00 p.m. they reached Camp VII, where they found the second team of Dölf Reist, Hansruedi von Gunten and a Sherpa busy shoveling out the snow-covered tent. The Sherpa accompanied Schmied and Marmet on their rope, and they continued down to the South Col, reaching Camp VIb shortly before 7:00 p.m.

The second team of Reist and von Gunten were also successful in reaching the summit. The night was very cold once again, but the next day, May 24, was the most beautiful and calm day of the past several weeks. The team began their approach at 6:45 a.m., enabling them to enjoy a short rest at the South Summit. When they approached the traverse to the main summit, with the cornices that looked so treacherous, they found clear tracks left by Schmied and Marmet.

They were even able to follow the steps of their predecessors at the steepest point of the climb, and reached the summit at 11:00 a.m. The weather was bitterly cold but absolutely still. The team rested at the summit for two whole hours, taking off the oxygen masks from time to time. Large clouds approached from the south, indicating that the monsoon would arrive before long. The climbers descended in great shape and record time, reaching the South Col, lying almost 1,000 metres below, just two hours later, at 3:00 p.m.

After some hesitation, Eggler decided not to send another rope team to the summit. The monsoon was approaching, and it seemed wiser and more sensible to descend. Luchsinger, Reiss, Müller and Leuthold climbed to the South Col, and then the entire team started their descent to base camp, where everyone arrived in a healthy condition on May 29. The great adventure had thus come to an end.

Apart from the couple of cases of illness suffered during the approach, this expedition had enjoyed excellent luck, especially with regard to the rare good weather. However, the main reason for the success of the expedition was the careful organization, competent leadership and (most of all) the good will and cohesion within the entire team. This was one of the most successful expeditions in the history of the Himalayas. It also marked the positive conclusion of a program to which the foundation had devoted five long years of hard work.

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