Alpinists at Large: 1981 American Attempt on Mt. Siguniang, China

“Throw me off now. Throw me off. I’d rather die fast than slow.” —Jim Kanzler, during the 1981 American expedition to Mt. Siguniang, China

By American Alpine Club | May 24th, 2020

In 1981, during a complicated time for relations between the US and China, a team of climbers embarked on one of the first American expeditions to the mountains of China to attempt the first ascent of Mt. Siguniang.

Not all partnerships start off on perfect footing, and some expeditions go sideways. The five members—Jim Donini, Jack Tackle, Jim Kanzler, Kim Schmitz, Greg Thomsen—of the Mt. Siguniang expedition learned a lot of lessons during their “trip,” but forged lifelong friendships nonetheless.


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