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EverestHistory.com: Lou Reichardt


As climbing leader of leader of the 1981 American expedition to Everest, led by Richard Blum, Lou Reichardt faced what must have seemed an almost insurmountable task, to chart a path up the unclimbed East face of Everest, the so called Kangshung Face. And for that year at least the Khanshung Face remained insurmountable. The expedition, though well financed, was torn by strife, bad weather, threat of avalanche, and illness and the attempt at the summit abandoned.

Two years later Lou would return with another American expedition this time led by James Morrissey. This expedition contained many of the same team members as the unsuccessful 1981 group and would also attempt to summit via the Eastern face. Though the summit was a success, putting several Americans atop Everest it was darkened by the falling deaths of two Japanese climbers and a sherpa from another nearby expedition.

Reichardt went on to be among the first Americans to summit K2 (and the first to summit both Everest and K2). He is currently a UC San Francisco professor of physiology specializing in neuroscience and is a past president of the American Alpine Club.

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