American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India—Garhwal, Bhagirathi I, West Ridge Ascent and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

Bhagirathi I, West Ridge Ascent and Tragedy. From August 16 to 23 Charlie Heard, John Mothersele and I made the first ascent of Bhagirathi I’s west ridge, a 7000-foot-high superb free climb on white granite in its lower half, which culminated in a steep 1000-foot tower and involved several sustained pitches of 5.8 climbing. The tower gave access to a narrow and elegant snow arête which rose 2500 feet directly to the summit (6856 meters, 22,494 feet). The climb was done alpine-style. Descent was made by the same route, during which Charlie Heard tragically fell to his death when an abseil anchor failed. We were hampered throughout the ascent by warm monsoon weather: persistent cloud and regular snowfall.

Martin Moran, Alpine Climbing Group

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