American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India, Garhwal, Nanda Devi East Ascent and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1982

Nanda Devi East Ascent and Tragedy. An expedition of Indian paratroopers was led by Major Kiran I. Kumar. After reaching Base Camp at 16,250 feet in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary on September 7, they set up Camps I, II, III and IV on the southwest ridge at 19,200, 20,175, 22,150 and 23,000 feet on September 10, 20, 26 and October 3 respectively. On October 4 Captain Premjit Lai and Phu Dorjee were returning from the summit of Nanda Devi East (7434 meters, 24,391 feet) when they fell to their deaths. On October 7 Flight Lieutenant U.K. Palat, Chamber Tashi, Tsering Tashi and Phuba Tsering reached the summit in a seven-hour effort. On October 9 Captain A.K. Srivas- tava, Havildar Daya Chand, Laik Naik Umed Singh, Phuto Wangyal and Sanjay Sherpa got to the top. Daya Chand slipped and was killed during the descent. Meanwhile they turned to the main peak and placed four camps on the conventional southwest ridge, despite very inclement weather. Captain Lakha Singh and Havildar Khusal Singh were trapped at Camp IV at 23,625 feet. On October 12 they started down but as they descended Lakha Singh slipped and fell to his death. The expedition still pressed on. On October 16, Flight Lieutenant Venu Gopal slipped and fell 100 feet when he, Gyarsi Ram, Tsering Wangdu and Duhsera Kami were only 400 feet below the summit. The other three secured him and went on to the summit (7816 meters, 25,645 feet). When they returned he was snowblind. During the difficult evacuation, Gyarsi Ram, who had unroped for a moment, fell to his death. The expedition was finally given up after this fifth tragedy.

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