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Asia, India–Kumaon and Garhwal, Panch Chuli II

Panch Chuli II. An Indian army expedition from the Gorkha Rifles made the second ascent of the peak, 18 years after the first ascent. I led the 20-man team. We approached from the Darma valley in the east. Base Camp was at 3720 meters at Nyulpa and Camps I and II were at 5000 and 5740 meters on the Sona Glacier. Camp III at 6450 meters was on the north col. From there, on August 21, a first group composed of Riflemen Ram Bahadur Gurung, Kim Bahadur Puri, Krishna Bahadur Thapa and Lance Naik Ram Bahadur Bura and a second group comprising Majors A.K. Saxena and A.B. Goth, Subedar N.D. Sherpa and me headed along the northeast ridge toward the top. The first group reached the summit (6904 meters, 22,650 feet). When still 50 meters from the top, the second group was swept away by a massive avalanche. We were hurled down 80 meters but luckily could arrest our fall before plunging 1000 meters. W.H. Murray had intended to climb this route in 1950, but it took 41 years before it was done. The first ascent in 1973 was via the south ridge.

N.B. Gurung, Captain, Gorkha Rifles, Indian Army