American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India—Garhwal, Bhagirathi III, Southwest Buttress

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Bhagirathi III, Southwest Buttress. Our team consisted of (Mr.) Carol McDermott and me. We established Base Camp at Tapovan on August 24 and by September 9 had acclimatized and carried our gear to the base of the climb. After some bad weather, we started on the 13th. Our route followed that of Scots Fyffe and Barton with only minor variations. We found, as they had, that it is necessary to stay well to the left to avoid rockfall. Unfortunately, the weather, which had been good, became increasingly unsettled. It snowed every day but the first and the snowfalls got heavier the higher we climbed. As a result, it took us six days to climb the 19 pitches of granite. The route was not steep enough for efficient hauling of our large quantity of gear. On the seventh day, we climbed five pitches of steep snow-covered dirt, five pitches of hard but moderately angled ice and five pitches of an easier snow ridge. We reached the summit (6454 meters, 21,175 feet) at 5:30 P.M. on September 19. The climbing was on good granite, mainly 5.7 to 5.8 with one section of 5.9. Aid was used on five pitches, but apart from one sustained aid pitch, none had more than 20 feet of aid.

Philip Castle, New Zealand Alpine Club

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