National Geographic : 1984 Jul
againsta 3,500-foot rampartof rock so sheer and treacherousthat in many places even ice and snow barely clung to it. Yet we scaled the wall twice: first in 1981, before having to abandonthe climb, and againin 1983, when six climbers went all the way to the summit (pages 88-89). In this view (right)the greatrampart-whichwe named Lowe Buttress after one of our climbers, George Lowe-soarsfrom its base at 17,800feet to an icy pinnacle at 21,300 feet. Beyond the Buttress and invisible here, the summit of Everest rises another 7,700 feet, across treacherousridges and snowfields beset by avalanches. But it is the Buttress that gives the East Faceof Everest its awesome character.In more than a quartercentury of mountaineering,I have found no challenge to equal it for modem climbing techniques. Meeting that challenge, teammateJay Cassell (left) scales an ice face near the top of the Buttress. Blinding spindriftof snow cascading from slopes higherup combines with fog to reduce visibility - and often safety-to the narrowestof margins. Rockfall is a greaterthreat,requiring safety helmets at all times. Despite the hazards,Jay carriesa 30-pound pack of supplies and equipment the normal burden on the Buttress ascent-neededto establishour staging camp above the Buttress. The job required28 days. By contrast, the climb from that camp to the summit took only ten days. DAVID CHEESMOND(LEFT); CARLOSBUHLER THE FORGOTTEN FACE OF EVEREST Conquest of the Summit By JAMES D. MORRISSEY r K~ '^I^S1s7 .' '*' "*. i -.^ ':^ ^^ !? 1.?%~i.1.''- 1^&.^ K^ :'