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Asia, India—Garhwal, Bhagirathi III

Bhagirathi III. On August 28, New Zealander Kynan Bazely and Australians Vera Wong and I as leader arrived at Nandanban Base Camp. For a week we acclimatized and carried loads to Advance Base at 4900 meters beneath the southwest face. On September 7, we set out from Base Camp and Advance Base and up the moraine and gravel of the “brown tower” to Camp I at 5200 meters about 200 meters from the base of the route. We fixed the first three pitches. On the 8th, we climbed the fixed ropes and another four pitches on good granite to bivouac at 5500 meters. On the 9th, we had great climbing on moderate crack systems with one aid pitch. We had an easy day on the 10th, climbing three pitches to a good ledge and fixing two more pitches. The ropes we had fixed had iced up on September 11 and were difficult. We climbed a third pitch to the snow, traversed along a snow ledge to avoid iced rock. We then climbed a 60° thin-ice gully and eight pitches of 60° snow slopes to bivouac under a rock near the summit. On September 12, we reached the summit (6454 meters, 21,175 feet) and descended the north ridge. The climbing was on compact granite for 19 pitches (5.5 to 5.9). Aid was used on six pitches: Pitch 11 with 30 or 40 meters of aid, and the rest mostly one or two moves.

John Chapman, Australia