American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India-Garhwal, Dunagiri Tragedy

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

Dunagiri Tragedy. Karl (“Chip”) Ketron and Brad Shaver made a five-day alpine ascent of Dunagiri (23,184 feet), reaching the summit on October 18. Tragedy struck during the descent. It is impossible to be sure just what happened, but from what Indian climbers watching from the foot of the mountain say, certain details can be pieced together. They were both seen descending from the summit and camping at 22,000 feet. The next morning just one of them was observed moving at the bivouac and not until 9:30 did he begin to descend, alone. He was never seen again. Kiran and Narinder Kumar and local porters ascended the route. They found neither body but they did find Ketron’s pack, badly damaged and with broken shoulder straps. They surmise that Shaver had died in the night, either from an embolism or from pulmonary or cerebral edema, and that Ketron had possibly buried the body in a crevasse. They feel that Ketron would never have descended with their only stove and other necessary gear in his pack if Shaver had been alive. Ketron seems to have slipped and fallen during the descent. An extensive helicopter search revealed no signs of the bodies. (This information was supplied by Ketron’s uncle, W.B. Greene, Jr.)

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