Nanda Devi 1976

1976 Indian-American Expedition, Northern India

This mountain’s revered place in Hindu mythology stems not only from its status as India’s highest peak,  but from the fact that although her 25,643-foot pointed summit can be seen from the distant plains, it is enclosed within a nearly unbroken rampart of imposing mountain ridges. Within this rampart is what is known as the Nanda Devi Sanctuary, a flowering meadow at around 14,000 feet, from which the icy battlement of Nanda Devi soars another two miles. This journal describes an extraordinary new route accomplished by a joint Indian-American team in 1976.

As impressive as this mountaineering achievement certainly was, it was completely overshadowed by the sudden and tragic death of 22 year old Nanda Devi Unsoeld, one of only two women on the expedition. This tragedy was intensified by the uncanny irony that this woman was to die on the very mountain for which she was named.

The journal begins with daily accounts of the writer’s solo journey through northwest India to catch up with the expedition in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.  And because the writer’s journal-keeping was essentially truncated by Devi’s death, an addendum to deal specifically with that dreadful event is included.

 

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