A serious avalanche accident has occurred on the 5,670-meter-high Draupadi ka Danda II in northern India. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, a climbing school based in Uttarkashi, a town about 60 kilometers west of Tibet, said the avalanche hit a team of 34 trainees and seven instructors. Four bodies have been recovered so far, it said. The Indian news agency PTI reported at least ten dead, citing information from officials. Several people are reportedly still missing.
Caught in avalanche during descent
According to the NIM, the participants of the advanced course had been training in snow and ice for the past ten days. This morning, they reached the summit of Draupadi ka Danda II. The avalanche had hit the group on the descent above their first high camp, it said. As reports on the Internet show, the mountaineering school has been organizing regular training expeditions to the five-thousander in the Gharwal Himalayas for more than 20 years.
Update 5 October: According to the authorities, ten bodies have now been recovered and 14 members of the team have been rescued. 17 people are still missing. – Among the dead is Savita Kanswal, a well-known climber in India. In spring 2021, she scaled (with bottled oxygen) the eight-thousander Lhotse, and last spring (also with a breathing mask) first Mount Everest and then Makalu within 16 days. The 26-year-old was an instructor at the NIM.
Update 6 October: The numbers go back and forth. The NIM now speaks of nine recovered bodies and 29 “stranded trainees”.
Update 7 October: According to Indian press reports, 26 dead have now been recovered and three people are still missing.