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Asia, India—Garhwal, Satopanth Attempt and Near Tragedy

Satopanth Attempt and Near Tragedy. Our expedition was composed of Michel Chamot, Denis Favre, Guy Bartschi, Jean-Pierre Susini, Patrick Gavard, Henri Gay-Balmaz, Gabriel Dubuis, Philippe and Elizabeth Beguin, Christine Sherwood and me as leader. My objective was to make the first “extreme ski descent” of the direct north face of Satopanth. The way up was the northeast ridge. We placed Base Camp, Advanced Base and Camps I and II at Nandanban at 4300 meters, at Vasuki Tal at 4800 meters, at 5300 and 6000 meters on May 10, 13, 17 and 19 respectively. On May 21,I was pushing myself too much at 6500 meters, carrying my ski equipment, when I suddenly fell unconscious with an apparent heart arrest and pulmonary edema. Luckily I received immediate medical assistance. I was in a coma for four hours and semi-conscious for the next three days while I was being evacuated on an improvised litter made from my skis. I was helicoptered from Base Camp by an Indian Army helicopter.

Dominique Neuenschwander, Club Alpin Suisse