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Asia, India, Garhwal, Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi. Our five-man, six-woman team left the road at Lata on August 12 and walked in the rain for a week to reach Base Camp at 16,400 feet on August 22. We were Misses Chandraprabha Aitwal, Sushama Mahajan, Rekha Sharma, Bharati Das, Dr. Kukum Saluja and Harsha Bisht and Rattan Singh, Lhatoo Dorjee, Nandalal Purohit, Sonam Paljor, Dr. R.S. Sanhu and I as leader. We followed the original south ridge route until it met the west ridge route. The camps were first occupied as follows: Camps I, II, III and IV at 18,375, 20,350, 22,300 and 24,275 feet on August 24, 27, 31 and September 9 respectively. Camp III was evacuated due to high winds and reoccupied on September 2 and Camp IV had to be left to be reoccupied on September 14. As we opened the route to Camp II, two members were hurt by stonefall. Deep snow lay between Camps II and III and we kept running out of snow stakes. Where the south ridge comes to the west ridge, it was iced and offered the hardest climbing of the expedition. An attempt by four women and three men on September 16 failed 1000 feet from the summit due to high winds. Winds prevented another attempt until the 19th when three women, Rekha Sharma, Chandraprabha Aitwal and Harsha Bisht, and three men, Rattan Singh, Lhatoo Dorjee and Sonam Paljor, left camp at three A.M. and reached the summit (7816 meters, 25,645 feet) between five and 6:30 P.M. They returned to Camp IV by five A.M. the next day. Rattan Singh suffered a frostbitten foot and later lost two toes. On September 20 Nandalal Purohit left Camp IV at sundown and was on the summit at five A.M. on September 21. We left Base Camp on September 23. The expedition had four high-altitude porters, of whom two worked above Camp II and only one above Camp III. We fixed about 10,000 feet of rope. We had 80 porters and 200 goats for the walk-in.

Balwant S. Sandhu, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering