An early attempt on Lhotse was by the 1955 International Himalayan Expedition, headed by Norman Dyhrenfurth. It also included two Austrians (cartographer Erwin Schneider and Ernst Senn) and two Swiss (Bruno Spirig and Arthur Spöhel), and was the first expedition in the Everest area to include Americans (Fred Beckey, George Bell, and Richard McGowan). The Nepalese liaison officer was Gaya Nanda Vaidya. They were accompanied by 200 local porters and several climbing Sherpas. After a brief look at the dangerous southern approaches of Lhotse Shar, they turned their attention, during September and October, to the Western Cwm and the northwest face of Lhotse, on which they achieved an altitude of about 8,100 metres (26,600 ft). They were beaten back by unexpectedly strong wind and low temperatures. Under Schneider's direction, they completed the first map of the Everest area (1:50,000 photogrammetric). The expedition also made several short films covering local cultural topics and made a number of first ascents of smaller peaks in the Khumbu region.
Lhotse Middle remained, for a long time, the highest unclimbed named point on Earth; on May 23, 2001, its first ascent was made by Eugeny Vinogradsky, Sergei Timofeev, Alexei Bolotov and Petr Kuznetsov of a Russian expedition.
The Lhotse standard climbing route follows the same path as Everest'sSouth Col route up to the Yellow Band beyond Camp 3. After the Yellow Band, the routes diverge with climbers bound for Everest taking a left over the Geneva Spur up to the South Col, while Lhotse climbers take a right further up the Lhotse face. The last part to the summit leads through the narrow "Reiss couloir" until the Lhotse main peak is reached.
By December 2008 371 climbers had summitted Lhotse while 20 died during their attempt. Lhotse was not summited in 2014, 2015, or 2016 due to a series of incidents, however, it was summited again in May 2017. In 2016 Ang Furba Sherpa died from a fall while working on the mountain to set ropes.
Nuptse Ridge, Everest, Lhotse, and Lhotse Shar peaks
1955 Attempt by the International Himalayan Expedition.
1977 Second ascent of the main summit by a German expedition led by Dr. G. Schmatz.
1979 Ascent of the main summit by Andrzej Czok and Jerzy Kukuczka without the use of supplemental oxygen (Kukuczka's first conquered eight-thousander, and eventually the last one to climb 10 years later). Ascent was in company of Zygmunt Andrzej Heinrich and Janusz Skorek. 4 days later second group climbed to the peak - Janusz Baranek, Adam Bilczewski, Stanisław Cholewa, Robert Niklas. Leszek Czarnecki, climbed with the group without the use of supplemental oxygen, but carrying the oxygen to elevation of 8350 m, where he was forced to turn back due to inclement weather.
1980 April 27 Attempt on Lhotse Shar by the French climber Nicolas Jaeger, last seen at 8,200 metres (26,900 ft).
1981 Attempt on the South Face by a Yugoslavian expedition led by Aleš Kunaver. Vanja Matijevec and Franček Knez reach the top of the Face but not the summit.
1981 April 30 First solo ascent without the use of supplement oxygen of the main summit by Hristo Prodanov, as part of the first Bulgarian Himalayan expedition.
1989 October 24 Jerzy Kukuczka perishes while climbing the South Face when his secondhand rope breaks. An international expedition led by Reinhold Messner to climb the South Face was unsuccessful.
1990 April 24 Tomo Česen from Slovenia, makes a first solo ascent of South Face of Lhotse. Controversy of his climb is later raised by the Soviet Himalayan expedition, claiming that his ascent would be impossible. Reinhold Messner would also raise his doubts.
1990 October 16 First ascent of South Face by the Soviet Himalayan expedition members Sergey Bershov and Gennadiy Karataev.
1994 May 13 Carlos Carsolio got mountaintop solo, introducing a world speed record at 23 h 50 min rise from Base Camp to the summit.
1996 Chantal Mauduit becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Lhotse.
1996 May 17 Anatoli Boukreev solo ascent, world speed record at 21 hours 16 min from Base Camp to summit without supplemental oxygen; he had summited Everest the week before.
1997 Attempt to climb Lhotse Middle via the ridge between the main summit and Lhotse Shar by a Russian expedition, led by Vladimir Bashkirov, who died in the attempt, just below the main summit.
1999 Attempt to climb Lhotse Middle and traverse the three summits by a Russian team, failed due to bad weather.
2001 May 23 First ascent of Lhotse Middle by a Russian expedition.
The western flank of Lhotse is known as the Lhotse Face. Any climber bound for the South Col on Everest must climb this 1,125 m (3,690 ft) wall of glacial blue ice. This face rises at 40 and 50-degree pitches with the occasional 80-degree bulges. High-altitude climbing Sherpas and the lead climbers will set fixed ropes up this wall of ice. Climbers and porters need to establish a good rhythm of foot placement and pulling themselves up the ropes using their jumars. Two rocky sections called the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur interrupt the icy ascent on the upper part of the face.
On May 19, 2016, the high-altitude mountain worker Ang Furba Sherpa died when he slipped and fell down Lhotse face.
From Gokyo Ri
Annotated image of Lhotse and surroundings as seen from Gokyo Ri