Mountaineering: Tragedy on Pisang

Outside Magazine, February 1995

Mountaineering: Tragedy on Pisang
By Todd Balf (with Martin Dugard)

In one of the worst mishaps in the history of commercial expeditions, ten alpinists from a German climbing club and their Sherpa guide were killed in a freak accident November 13 on a popular trekking peak in the Himalayas of Nepal. The lone survivor, Klaus Kolb, had stayed at high camp because of altitude sickness and didn't attempt the ill-fated summit climb on 19,984-foot Mount Pisang. Kolb said he watched the 11 as they decended the oft-taken northwest ridge route and then disappeared in a cloud of blowing snow. Rescuers found the bodies huddled together on a snowfield high on Pisang, which is considered to be one of the "easier" of Nepal's 20,000-foot peaks. They believe that the team, probably roped together, may have been caught in a slab avalanche and plummeted 1,600 feet.

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