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Asia, India—Garhwal, Mana Peak Attempt

Mana Peak Attempt. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation selected 18 women and 18 men with me as leader to try out the climbers and their gear for next year’s Everest expedition on Mana Peak (7272 meters, 23,858 feet). Mana Peak was first climbed by Frank Smythe and Peter Oliver in 1937 by the northwest ridge. Two Indian parties have .also climbed the mountain by the same route. We went up the east bank of the Saraswati River and the Nagthuni Gad to Base Camp at 14,875 feet. We reconnoitered routes along the Dakhani and Uttari Nagthuni Glaciers. The Uttari Nagthuni offered a speedier route and Camp I was made in a snowfield at the head of the east spur of the glacier at 18,050 feet on September 9. The route to Camp II went over the Guptkhal (Zaskar Pass) and then into the south icefall, in which we placed Camp II at 20,350 feet. The route wound through séracs and it escaped the last of them by going up a 50-foot ice wall. It angled steeply to a snowfield and to Camp III at 22,000 feet below the northwest ridge of Mana Peak. The first summit attempt by Prem Chand and 12 climbers on September 21 was defeated by high winds. Lhatoo Dorjee and 14 climbers were hit by a very severe snowstorm and all the camps were abandoned. On September 30 a party of 14 climbers with Prem Chand, Lhatoo and Rattan Singh made a third attempt and got to within 250 feet of the summit but execrable snow conditions turned them back.

Balwant S. Singh, Director, Nehru Mountaineering Institute