American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India, Uttar Pradesh, Central Garhwal, Meru East Face, Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Meru East Face, Attempt. The original aim of the expedition was to make the first ascent of the north face of the highest summit in Himachel Pradesh, Reo Purgyil (6816m), which straddles the border between India and Tibet. Unfortunately, two days before the expedition was due to depart for India, permission was revoked by the Indian Government. This action came at the end of a week in which India conducted nuclear weapon tests. Despite the setback, we were still committed to flights and other arrangements, so the team traveled out to Delhi, and with the support of the IMF managed to obtain an alternative permit for Meru (6660m) in the Gangotri region.

The expedition was comprised of climbers Julie-Ann Clyma and Roger Payne. The new aim was to make an alpine-style ascent of the unclimbed east face of Meru. They were joined for the walk-in to Base Camp by Nicholas Clyma (N.Z.) and Tony Martin (U.S.).

The expedition set up Base Camp at Tapovan (4480m) on May 24. The weather in the premonsoon period was excellent at the end of May, but extremely unsettled during June. The first attempt on the mountain began on May 31, with Payne and Clyma reaching a highpoint of ca. 6300 meters on June 3. Progress was stopped here because of bad weather and avalanche danger. Two more attempts were made, but the poor conditions did not allow progress beyond 5100 meters. The expedition departed from Base Camp on June 14 and arrived back in Delhi two days later.

Roger Payne, British Mountaineering Council

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.