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Asia, India, Uttar Pradesh, Central Garhwal, Bhagirathi I, West Ridge

Bhagirathi I, West Ridge. The participants were Michael Messner, Harald Riedl, Christian Zenz and me. It was our aim to climb the west ridge of Bhaghirathi I, which was first ascended alpine-style by a British expedition in 1983. After having completed the usual formalities, we arrived at Base Camp in Nandanvan on September 7 without any problems. We transported part of our equipment to the beginning of the ridge. Unfortunately, we were trapped in Base Camp until the end of September due to steady precipitation (snowfall to ca. 4000m). It was not until September 26 that we could start our first attempt, which we had to break off due to bad conditions.

On October 3, Christian Zenz and I started a further attempt and after four to five days of alpine-style climbing, we reached the top on October 7. The difficulties on the lower rocky ridge were UIAA III-IV, with some passages up to V and several easier sections. The steep rock pillar, which is ca. 300 meters high, was V-VI, with several longer passages at VI+. The mixed ground that followed was in good condition, as was the 800-meter ridge itself, after an initial 100 meters of deep snow. At ca. 6700 meters, the ridge is interrupted by a ca. 20-meter step of bad rock (IV-V). We reached the top at about 1 p.m. in beautiful weather and cold wind. Our descent was mainly done by abseiling the same route. Except for the abseil anchors, we left no other material or rubbish on the mountain.

Josef Jochler, Austria