Nanda Devi (Photo: Punit Mehta)

Please scroll down for updates

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has launched an expedition to the Traill Pass area to recover the bodies of climbers sighted earlier during helicopter sorties.

“ Based on permission received from DM (district magistrate) Pithoragarh, IMF has launched a ground search expedition. Fully equipped 12 member-team is headed for the accident site through Pindari glacier. They are expected to reach the area by Saturday,” a senior IMF official informed Monday (June 10) morning.

Late-May following eight climbers reported missing from an expedition to Nanda Devi East, district authorities had launched a search mission. Five bodies were subsequently located near Peak 6477, an unclimbed peak the team hoped to try. However efforts to retrieve the bodies didn’t succeed.

The IMF then sought permission to launch its own search and recovery mission.

The eight climbers reported missing was from an expedition led by senior British climber and mountain guide, Martin Moran.

Please scroll down on this blog for earlier reports on this tragedy.

Update / June 14: Media reports quoting the District Magistrate of Pithoragarh said that a 32-member team comprising 11 mountaineers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are also heading to the accident spot to retrieve the bodies. The team left for Munsyari on Thursday (June 13). They are expected to be airlifted to “ Nanda Devi second base camp” on Friday, the reports said.

Update / June 15: The IMF expedition has established its base camp close to Zero Point in the Pindari Glacier region, a senior IMF official informed on Saturday. A few members have shifted to Advance Base Camp (ABC). Asked about conditions at altitude, he said that the monsoon is yet to make its presence felt.  There are light showers at base camp and sleet at ABC. The team is able to go about its work. They will take a couple of days to open the route to higher camp and reach the accident spot, the official said.

Update / June 22: Weather appears to be an issue. According to a senior IMF official, nine members were expected to proceed towards Camp 1 today with six staying one there and three returning after load ferry. However the team had to turn back at around 4900 meters due to white out conditions. They are now back at ABC.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)   

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