American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India—Garhwal, Nilkantha Attempt

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

Nilkantha Attempt. Our expedition was composed of Rob Tresidder, Ernie McGlashaw, Rebekah Beadle, Helen Jones, Mary Fysh, Richard Topliss, Paul Ramsden, Peter Green and me as leader. We walked from Hanuman Chatti via the Khirao valley to Base Camp at 13,200 feet under the south face of Nilkantha. We attempted an unsuccessful approach from the southeast via the left-bounding gully of the south face. We then turned to the southeast ridge. Advance Base at 17,000 feet was established on September 12. Poor weather persisted. Ramsden and Topliss finally established a bivouac just below the high point of Tunstall’s 1989 attempt, a sharp point on the ridge, and just above a fixed rope left by the Americans a few weeks before. Route-finding was difficult. Ramsden and Topliss set out on September 21 in a determined push. The next day, they abseiled down a 65° slope on the back side of the point to a snowy col and continued along the ridge, finding the fourth American rope. They made another bivouac at 18,000 feet below a second major pinnacle. On September 23, they climbed to just below the top of the second pinnacle at 18,800 feet. From there they could see that a descent was required down slopes, out of sight, to reach a snowy col. Beyond lay other pinnacles.The weather deteriorated rapidly. No further attempt on Nilkantha was made.

Roy Lindsay, Alpine Club

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