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Asia, India—Kumaon and Garhwal, Thalay Sagar from the South and Rudugaira

Thalay Sagar from the South and Rudugaira. Our expedition made a second, and this time successful, attempt by a new route on Thalay Sagar from the Phatung Glacier to the south. Our previous try was in 1990. Because of deep winter snow, most of the porters could not reach Base Camp at 3700 meters, established on May 9. The lower section of the route above Advance Base at 4600 meters followed a steep glacier to the left (west) of the rock buttress climbed in 1990. A lower-angled glacier and a 60° snow slope led to the foot of the granite headwall, where Camp III was placed at 6300 meters. Equipment had to be carried up specially to attempt the vertical south face. Regular afternoon snowfall and lack of continuous cracks stopped progress. Severe spindrift often buried tents in several minutes. The summit push started on May 23 from Advance Base but was delayed at Camp I at 5700 meters by bad weather. Camp III was established on June 3 and the summit was reached three days later from Camp IV at 6500 meters. Charles French and Julian Fisher descended while Tom Prentice and I carried on and bypassed the granite by climbing to the left up a vertical sérac to reach a big snow cone. After a short foray on the south face, we joined the original route on the steep and rocky west ridge and reached the summit (6904 meters, 22,650 feet) on June 6. The west ridge was mostly snowy rock climbing with a few aid moves and proved quite difficult with some loose rock. Everyone helped clear the mountain. Rudugaira (5364 meters, 17,600 feet) was climbed by Gordon Scott, Prentice and Susan Grimley. [This is not to be confused with the 5819-meter Rudugaira which lies some 15 kilometers to the northwest.] Nearby P c.5100 (c. 16,733 feet) was climbed by Fisher and American Jordan Campbell. These may have been first ascents. Ratangrian (5858 meters, 19,220 feet) was attempted by Scott, Grimley and Campbell.

Keith Milne, Mountaineering Club of Scotland