PITHORAGARH: Four British climbers were rescued from avalanche hit-Nanda Devi on Sunday amid bad weather, but the fate of eight others, including seven foreigners led by famous mountaineer Martin Moran, is still unknown.
The rescued climbers were not part of the Moran-led team that initially planned to scale the 7,434 metre Nanda Devi East peak, but later decided to attempt a never-before-climbed peak instead. They shared their change of plan on their Facebook page on May 22. Two days later, the rescued UK nationals managed to get in touch with the Moran group. There has been no contact with the Moran group ever since Pithoragarh District Magistrate V K Jogdande said.
The rescued UK climbers were spotted 21 km beyond the Munsyari base camp by an IAF helicopter, Jogdande added. The Moran team was due to reach the base camp on May 26 but didn’t. It was a porter at the camp who informed the authorities about the situation on May 31, after which search parties were scrambled.
Apart from helicopter sorties, a team of the Indian Tibetan Border Police is expected to take part in the search operations from Monday. “While a 14-member team made of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) along with locals are already scouring the area, another SDRF team left Dehradun in a helicopter this morning to conduct an aerial survey,” officials said. Moran is a well-known climber who had scaled Nanda Devi twice. His Scotland-based company has run many Himalayan expeditions in the past.