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India, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Northern Sikkim, Chomoyummo, Attempt and Accident

Northern Sikkim, Chomoyummo, attempt and accident. In September the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) organized a high-profile expedition to Chomoyummo (6,829m) on the Tibet border. The nine-member team was led by the hugely experienced Dr. P.M. Das, Vice President of the IMF, and included two Everest summiteers and four experienced Sherpas.

While attempting the summit, seven members were caught in an avalanche. As they were swept down the slope they became entangled by the rope to which they were all tied. Five died, while two survived with serious injuries. The climbers who perished were Das, Inder Kumar and Nari Dhami (both of whom had summited Everest), Dawa Sherpa and Dawa Wangchuk from the Sonam Gyasto Mountaineering School at Gangtok. Details are sketchy, as the leading members died on the mountain.

Dr. Das was the Honorary Local Secretary of the Himalayan Club for Punjab. Hailing from Guwahati, Assam, he was a brilliant police officer who had won medals for bravery during the days of Punjab militancy. He had participated in 33 mountaineering expeditions, among which were Everest (reaching Camp 5 at 7,700 m), Mana and Mukut peaks (both 7,000ers), and Gorichen East (6,222m). With his death the Indian mountaineering world has lost a senior climber and able administrator.

Harish Kapadia, Honorary Editor, The Himalayan Journal