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Asia, India, Garhwal, Bethartoli South, Mrigthuni, and Attempts on Bethartoli Himal

Bethartoli South, Mrigthuni, and Attempts on Bethartoli Himal. Bethar- toli Himal was attempted by an expedition led by Professor Ramesh G. Desai and sponsored by the Climbers Club, Bombay. Others were Harish B. Kapadia, Jagdish C. Nanavati, Dr. Prabhakar Naik, Zerxis S. Boga, Arun P. Samant and Nitin V. Patel. After leaving Joshimath on May 21, they established Base Camp on May 28 at Tridang at 15,500 feet in the Trisul Nala. Camp I was placed at 18,400 feet east of the peak and one Camp II at 19,500 feet at the base of the south ridge of Bethartoli South. On June 4 Desai, Kapadia and Sherpas Chhawang Tashi and Phuba Tharkay made the second ascent of Bethartoli South (20,730 feet). Meanwhile another group was attacking Bethartoli Himal (20,840 feet) on a route more or less parallel. Camp II was at 18,200 feet and Camp III at 19,200 feet. On June 5 a summit attempt by Nitin Patel and Sherpa instructors from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Ang Kami and Passang Temba reached 19,800 feet on the steep south face of the east ridge before soft snow and bad weather halted their progress. Tragedy struck the party on June 6 when descending from Camp III in the face of continuous bad weather. An avalanche caught seven climbers on one rope of 165 feet and hurled them 200 feet into a crevassed area. Samant and Passang Temba were safe but shaken, Pemba Tschering was injured, but the others, Patel, Sherpas Ang Kami, Chhawang Phinzo and Gnapa, lost their lives, buried in crevasses under avalanche snow.

Bethartoli South was also climbed in September by a team from the Assam Mountaineering Association led by Atanu Prasad Barua. The summit was reached on September 28 by Rohini Kumar Bhuyan, Khagen- dra Nath Bora, Instructor Sher Singh and Sherpas Pemba Tarkay, Nima Tenzing and Nima Dorje from Camp II at 19,400 feet. Base Camp was established at 14,900 feet in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary on September 22. After failing to find a route to Bethartoli Himal from the col between it and Bethartoli South, they settled for the latter. Camp I was established on Mrigthuni at 18,000 feet on September 30 and Camp II at 19,400 feet on October 3. On October 4 three members including Ajit Kumar Sarma and five Sherpas including Nima Dorje reached the summit (22,490 feet). The first five had just left the summit when an avalanche swept them down 900 feet. Miraculously they escaped unhurt. Other members of the party included Dr. Prem John Cherian and Bhagat Singh. (Information supplied by Jagdish C. Nanavati, Soli S. Mehta and Kamal K. Guha.)