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Asia, India—Garhwal, Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi. After many years of closure to allow the Nanda Devi Sanctuary to recover its more pristine state, an Indian expedition of the Army Corps of Engineers was allowed to return in the pre-monsoon period of 1993. The team led by Lieutenant Colonel V.K. Bhatt consisted of 25 climbers, 10 eco-scientists, five foresters, two doctors, two nurses and a camera crew. It was primarily an ecological expedition. Studies were made on the effect of littering on the environment and on the impact of the ban. They found it to be “a grand spectacle of rare flora and fauna” and have prepared check lists. They listed more than 305 species of fauna, including endangered mountain flying squirrels, snow leopards, Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan red foxes and black bears. They cleared up trash, left behind by countless visitors. The porters were not happy to carry back over a ton of garbage. They reached Base Camp on May 15. There were four high camps, Camps II and IV at 20,300 and 23,000 feet. The summit was gained on June 13 by Major Amin Naik, Captain Anand Swaroop, G.K. Sharma, Lance Havildar Didar Singh and Naik S.P. Bhatt.

Kamal K. Guha, Editor, Himavanta, India