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8 Himalayan Climbers Die; Season's Toll 16

October 25, 1988|United Press International

KATMANDU, Nepal — A costly autumn climbing season has claimed the lives of at least eight more people, including four Czechoslovaks on Mt. Everest and two Icelanders on another Himalayan peak, Nepal's Ministry of Tourism said Monday.

The four Czechoslovaks have been missing and feared dead since an Oct. 17 assault on the peak of 29,028-foot Mt. Everest, the ministry said. A U.S. expedition that had placed two women on the summit tried unsuccessfully to find the Czechoslovak climbers.

The four were part of a 12-member team. Survivors of the expedition evacuated their base camp last Friday, and there has been no contact with the four since then, the ministry said. The expedition, which included one American, was attempting to scale the southwestern face of Everest.

Two other Czechoslovaks scaled 23,399-foot Mt. Tilicho on Oct. 18 and slipped to their deaths the next morning, the ministry said.

Two Icelanders are missing and believed dead on the southwest ridge of 23,488-foot Mt. Pumori, the ministry said. They have not been heard from since Oct. 18.

The eight victims of the treacherous Himalayan peaks brought to 16 the number who have died during the fall climbing season.

Stacy Marie Allison, 30, of Portland, Ore., the first American woman to scale Mt. Everest, arrived here Monday with other members of her expedition.

In an interview, she said that only luck permitted her to reach the top. Running low on oxygen as they prepared for the final assault Sept. 29, Allison and two other members of the expedition drew lots to see who would proceed.

"We drew numbers. I won and was it. So I was the fortunate one," she said. "It was very hard for me to see them turn around. I just happened to be the lucky one."

She became the seventh woman to reach the top of Everest. A few days later, another expedition member, Peggy J. Luce, 30, of Seattle, also reached the summit.

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