American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India—Garhwal, Nilkantha Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Nilkantha Attempt. I joined Fred Beckey, Jim Ruch, Greg Collum and Seth Shaw on an attempt on the southeast ridge of Nilkantha. We hiked for 2½ days up the valley from Badrinath, and with the help of local shepherds made Base Camp at 14,000 feet on August 19. Shaw had stayed in Badrinath to escort up our liaison officer and Beckey descended to relieve Shaw of this duty. Beckey and the liaison officer came up on August 29 just after the rest of us had established Advance Base in the few days when it was not raining on the small glacier at the foot of our ridge. On August 31 and September 1, Ruch and I started up the ridge, scouting, carrying gear and fixing a few sections. In constant white-out, we had trouble finding a good route around and over numerous rotten gendarmes. We found items from Smythe’s 1937 attempt or perhaps Wylie’s later one. Fred had a chest cold, and so on September 2 the rest of us climbed to 17,500 feet, apparently the British 1989 high-point. A major storm system arrived and dropped three feet of snow. After three days, we retreated to Base Camp, which we cleared on September 10.

Andrew Selters, Unaffiliated

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