AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

India, Himachal Pradesh, Kumaun, Nanda Devi East, East Face, Attempt

Nanda Devi East, east face, attempt. Marco Dalla Longa led a 12-member Italian expedition to attempt the first ascent of the east face of Nanda Devi East (7,434m). The team approached via Munsiary and the Milam Valley, establishing base camp on August 31. By September 7 they had placed three camps, the highest at 5,400m, on the central pillar of the east face. The team, which was primarily from the Bergamo region, split into three working groups, fixed ropes on the route and reached the top of the first tower on the pillar. From the 9th to the 18th a long spell of bad weather pinned them down at the higher camps. As the route was now out of the question, the climbers descended and turned their attention to nearby Nanda Lapak (5,782m). On the 23rd Ferruccio, Ferruccio, Perongelo, and Yuri reached the summit via the south ridge.

Toward the end of the expedition tragedy struck. Dalla Longa suddenly went into a coma and subsequently died of a stroke. The team’s doctor suspected cerebral edema. Dalla Longa was relatively young and fit, and reportedly had no health problems during the expedition. The expedition had a satellite phone (carrying a sat phone is supposedly illegal for foreign expeditions), which could have saved his life as it was immediately used to arrange helicopter rescue. However, due to bad weather it took four days for the helicopter to arrive. The entire expedition was evacuated by air to Munsiary on the 27th and to Delhi on the following day.

Harish Kapadia, Honorary Editor, The Himalayan Journal