2002 saw Andrew and his old Everest climbing friend Trajce Aleksov join forces to make a last minute, lightweight, oxygenless attempt on this less frequented member of the 8000 metre club. With a stunning twin summit buttress and a glorious trek to basecamp, its relatively benign looking slopes belie the dangers of this challenging peak. First climbed by a Japanese expedition, it has become renowned for big avalanches and a summit plateau that is frequently swamped in thick cloud.
Andrew decided on an early season attempt to allow him to continue to Lhotse afterwards and, arriving at the beginning of April, he, Alex and their basecamp staff of just one, found themselves alone on the mountain. Despite the minimal team size, the two forged the route up the mountain until Alex succumbed to illness.
Saddened by his friend’s withdrawal from the climb but determined to continue, Andrew climbed on, reaching the summit on a bitterly cold morning early in the season, not only making the first ascent of an 8000 metre peak for the entire Himalaya that season but achieving the first ever Australian ascent of the peak in the process.
But that was not all. See the chapter on Lhotse, to understand the rest of Andrew’s amazing high altitude achievements in 2002.