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1952 Swiss Mount Everest expedition

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1952 Swiss Mount Everest expedition

Led by Mount Everest and paving the way for further successes by other expeditions.

Origins

Tibet had closed to foreigners but Nepal had just opened up. In 1951 Eric Shipton's British-New Zealand reconnaissance had climbed the Khumbu Icefall and reached the elusive Western Cwm, proving that Everest could be climbed from Nepal. Unfortunately for the British, who had enjoyed exclusive access to the mountain for 31 years, the Nepalese government gave the 1952 permit to the Swiss.

Organization

Edouard Wyss-Dunant was appointed leader of this expedition. All the expedition’s participants were from Geneva, they almost all belonged to the exclusive «L'Androsace» climbing club and knew each other very well. The city and Canton of Geneva provided moral and financial support for the expedition, and the University of Geneva provided the scientific contingent.[1]

In spite of having suffered amputation of frostbitten toes, Raymond Lambert was among the members of the expedition.

It is during this expedition that the greatest honour that had ever been paid me"[2]) forging a lasting friendship with the Swiss, in particular Raymond Lambert.

Goals

The mountaineering task that this team had set itself was primarily exploring the access to the South Col, the conquest of the labyrinthine Khumbu Icefall, and possibly the advance to the South Col. The team never even considered an attempt at an ascent of Everest.

Ascent

Building on Shipton's experience, the Genevans reached the head of the Western Cwm and climbed the huge face above to the desolate, wind-swept plateau of the Andrew Irvine did not reach higher in their 1924 expedition, this was the highest that anyone had ever been.

Results

Raymond Lambert and [4] during which he summited with Edmund Hillary.

The results of this first Swiss Everest expedition are remarkable, and exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. At the first attempt, they had opened up a new route to Everest, and had reached an extraordinary height on the south-western ridge in difficult conditions. In the opinion of the extremely critical Marcel Kurz, this expedition could almost be compared to a victory. It paved the way for further successes by other expeditions.

The expedition named the Geneva Spur rock formation, between the Western Cwm and the South Col.[5] During the 1956 Swiss Everest–Lhotse expedition, Geneva Spur was the location of the last high camp before Fritz Luchsinger and Ernst Reiss achieved the first ascent of Lhotse summit, on May 18, 1956.[6]

Autumn expedition

There was a second Swiss expedition in the autumn of 1952, after the monsoon, the first serious attempt to climb Everest at that time of year. A party including Lambert, Tenzing and others made it to the South Col, but was forced back by extremely cold weather after reaching an altitude of 8,100 metres (26,575 ft).[7]

References

  1. ^ "Excerpt from: Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research, 1939 to 1970. Published in Zurich in 1972". Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  2. ^ Tenzing Norgay and James Ramsey Ullman, Man of Everest (1955, also published as Tiger of the Snows)
  3. ^ Cailliez, Jean-Claude (22 September 2007). "Raymond LAMBERT (1914-97) courageux & émérite alpiniste, moniteur de vol en montagne, co-patron de SATA". Le site des pionniers de l’aéronautique à Genève. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  4. ^ "Tenzing Norgay GM". Imaging Everest. The Royal Geographical Society. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  5. ^ (2004) - Page 226The Kid Who Climbed EverestBear Grylls - (Google Books link)]
  6. ^ Aargauer Zeitung, 25 April 2006
  7. ^ Tenzing, Ullman Man of Everest
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