Hans Rudolf von Gunten was a member
of the 1956 Swiss Mount Everest and Lhotse Expedition which made the
second and third ascents of Everest and the first ascent of Lhotse. He
climbed Mt. Everest on the 24th of May 1956 together with Dölf Reist
The short story by
Hans Rudolf von
Gunten, himself is below:
About the expedition. The expedition
was led by Albert Eggler. The team consisted of 10 climbers, a
glaciologist and a geographer.
We went by ship from Genova (Italy)
to Bombay (India) and then by train to Jainagar in the Ganges plaines
(a few meters of altitude!). From there we hiked about four weeks to
the Base Camp. We had 10 tons of material which were carried by 350
porters. From the Base Camp up 30 Sherpas helped to carry the
material. At the monastery of Thiangboche Fritz Luchsinger had an
acute appendicitis but was cured by a massive doses of antibiotic.
For the acclimatisation we climbed
several peaks of 5000 to 6000 m altitude, most of them were climbed
for the first time.
The Icefall was quite an obstacle. We
used explosives to blow-up the most dangerous seracs. Two ladders and
several wooden beams helped in crossing crevasses. At the
most difficult locations fixed ropes were installed. We had always to
lead teams of Sherpas up the glacier; at that time most of the
Sherpas had not much experience. We climbed always roped together.
We installed 7 camps. Camp 3 as
advanced Base in the Western Cwm, camp 5 in the Lhotse Face, camp 6 on
South Col, camp 7 at about 8400 m on the ridge of Everest.
Starting from a tent higher up in the
Lhotse Face Ernst Reiss and Fritz Luchsinger made the first ascent of
Lhotse on May 18, 1956, on a very windy day.
A week later Ernst Schmied and Juerg
Marmet climbed Everest (2nd ascent, 23 May). One day later Everest was
climbed a second time by Dolf Reist and Hans-Rudolf von Gunten (3rd
ascent). The latter team used 4 hours from camp 7 to the top, remained
for two hours on the summit, one hour without oxygen, and descendet in
two hours to the south col. There was no wind on top.
We were about two months at the
mountain climbing up and down every day. The expedition had no
We then hiked two weeks back to
Only Juerg Marmet, Ernst Reiss and
Hans R. von Gunten are still living.
H.R. von Gunten
Literature: Albert Eggler, "Gipfel
über den Wolken", Verlag Hallwag Bern, Switzerland 1956.
Albert Eggler, "The Everest-Lhotse
Adventure", Harper New York