SI Vault
November 02, 1959
Too Late
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November 02, 1959

Events & Discoveries

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It sounded remarkably like victory for the tiddler catchers.

The Women and the Goddess

I am not a suffragette," said the lady, "but I do not see why a group of women, animated by the love of climbing, should not try the ascent of a great peak." The peak in question was Cho Oyu, the Turquoise Goddess, which rises a formidable 26,867 feet above sea level in the Nepal Himalayas. The speaker was Mme. Claude Kogan, a beachwear designer of Nice who herself rose a formidable 4 feet 10 inches above the floor and was the holder of the altitude record for women: 25,496 feet on Cho Oyu in 1954. Last month Mme. Kogan led an expedition of 12 women from five countries, including two daughters and a niece of the celebrated Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, up Cho Oyu's glassy slopes.

"Ours is a poor team and we cannot afford the luxuries of modern devices," said Mme. Kogan. Indeed, they had neither oxygen, portable radio transmitters nor advanced climbing gear and most of their equipment was second-hand. But she did have confidence.

"It is amusing this way," said Mme. Kogan when asked why she didn't include any male mountaineers on her expedition, "and we did not want any distractions. As a rule, women make better climbers than men because they have greater stamina." Mme. Kogan's confident women climbers did not even bother to arrange for weather forecasts with All- India radio, a procedure which most male mountaineers consider essential before toiling up the highest peaks.

On Oct. 1 Mme. Kogan and Mile. Claudine van der Stratten-Ponthoz, a Belgian who had climbed with Mme. Kogan in Peru, went out ahead of the rest of the party with two Sherpa guides to set up an advance camp. They established Camp Four 23,000 feet up on Cho Oyu. Between Oct. 2 and Oct. 10 the Turquoise Goddess was buffeted by a 100-mile-an-hour blizzard. A search party sent up to Camp Four in its wake found the camp completely destroyed, deserted. Experts guessed that Mme. Kogan and her three companions were either swept off the mountains by an avalanche while in their tents, or that they were blown, tents and all, into some lost chasm of the mountains which have claimed the lives of at least 90 climbers since 1895.


For televiewers watching the Tony Anthony-Billy Hunter heavyweight go at Madison Square Garden last Friday night, it was all over when the referee stopped the slaughter in the seventh round. Anthony, the former favorite, now leaning back helplessly on the ropes, was plainly done for, his entire face seemingly an open wound. But for the little group of hangers-on who followed Tony back to his dressing room, there was still the question: "Why?"

Anthony, his eyes glistening with tears of disappointment and humiliation amid the cuts and contusions, said it was because "I just felt empty, like I couldn't get started."

Dr. Vincent Nardiello, longtime boxing buff who had supervised Anthony's training, said it was because "the man came in the ring at 181," 12 pounds lighter than Hunter. "Why'd ya let him, Doc?" someone logically observed. "Can't stop a man from worrying," replied Nardiello. "He worries, he loses weight."

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