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Asia, India–Garhwal, Bhrigupanth, West Couloir and North Ridge Attempt

Bhrigupanth, West Couloir and North Ridge Attempt. I was able in the pre-monsoon to climb the west couloir in one day, though it was a long one. The climbing was snow and ice up to 70°, with a bit of mixed climbing near the top. I dropped over the north ridge about 100 feet to a small bergschrund in which I was looking forward to a bivouac and some liquids. Unfortunately, my gas-cartridge stove refused to comply and resisted all attempts at repair by bursting into flame. I managed to escape injury by throwing the burning thing into the schrund, but I could no longer melt snow or cook. From my bivouac I had 1700 feet of climbing to the summit, which I judged to be less difficult than what I had already climbed, but I decided to retreat, having no way to rehydrate myself. I down-climbed and rappelled, starting late that afternoon and reached a bivouac site by two A.M. some 500 feet above the glacier. The next morning I returned to the glacier and was able to find some free water, which I greedily drank. I returned to Base Camp but had to leave for the Annapurna region before I could return to complete the climb.

Peter Athens