More bad news from the Himalaya in a spring climbing season that has already seen at least 21 deaths on 8,000-meter peaks: eight climbers are missing on the 7,434-meter Nanda Devi East (Sunanda Devi) in Uttarakhand, in the Indian Himalaya.
The missing climbers are part of a private guided expedition led by British climber Martin Moran through his outfit Moran Mountain. In addition to Moran, the missing climbers, according to information provided by Pithoragarh District Magistrate V K Jogdande to the Press Trust of India, include two Americans, Anthony Sudekum and Ronald Beimel; three other British men, John McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert Whewell; an Australian woman, Ruth McCance; and Indian guide, Chetan Pandey.
An Australian news outlet, ABC News, reports that when the eight “failed to return to base camp last Sunday, mountaineers searched a higher camp and found the group’s tents empty. Local mountaineers report there was a heavy avalanche on the group’s proposed route.”
The ABC news article goes on to say that four members of the expedition had turned back earlier in the climb and are currently in base camp.
A larger scale search and rescue operation is currently in the works. Magistrate Jodande told Agence France-Presse, “We have activated resources to trace the climbers after they failed to return to the base camp, but bad weather is hindering the operation.”
This article will be updated with new information as it becomes available.