American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India-Garhwal, Dunagiri, Southwest Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979

Dunagiri, Southwest Ridge. During April and May the Australian National University Mountaineering Club Expedition climbed Dunagiri (23,184 feet). We were J. Armstrong, K. Bell, K. Baldwin, A. Blakers, A. Bond, K. Burns, Peter Cocker, leader, J. Finnigan, L. Hall, T. Hooy, T. McCartney-Snape, B. Sandilands, Dr. M. Podkolinski, M. Stone, Liaison Officer A. Niyogi and I. Rejecting the original east-ridge objective, we concentrated on the southwest ridge, part of which was Roch’s first-ascent route and the scene of the tragic 1976 American attempt. We placed Base Camp at 15,500 feet and Camps I, II and III at 17,500, 18,300 and 19,800 feet. Hall and McCartney-Snape failed because of bad weather in a nearly successful unofficial attempt on unclimbed Purbi Dunagiri, off Dunagiri’s east ridge. They reported excellent steep rock- and-ice climbing. Bell, Hall, Hooy, McCartney-Snape, Stone and I subsequently fixed ropes up the rock band to within about 600 feet of the summit ridge. American fixed ropes were still obvious. During this time Podkolinski and Blakers climbed Bagini Peak. On May 29 the decision was made, due to limited time, to abandon the attempt. Lincoln Hall and Tim McCartney-Snape, instead of stripping the fixed ropes as planned, continued on a spur-of-the-moment decision to go for the summit. Without bivouac gear, food or spare clothing, they spent 49 hours on the summit climb. While Hall, suffering from the effects of a forced bivouac waited 600 feet from the top, McCartney-Snape went on alone, reaching the summit after noon on May 30. After climbing through a second night in a blizzard, the two returned to Camp III. Hall, suffering from frozen hands and feet, was carried in a stretcher to Base Camp and thence evacuated by Indian Air Force helicopter. A minor amputation of his big toe was necessary.

Charles Massy, Australian National University

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