/ Martin Moran team Nanda Devi East
There is an article today in an Indian paper that someone has linked on Facebook to say that MM's team are missing and a rescue underway. Does anyone have any news?
Not sure how to post link. It was posted on the 'mountainesque' page and says:
A very disturbing news is coming from Nanda Devi East expedition 2019 led by Moran Martin...He along his a team of seven, including Liaison Officer, are reported to be missing. Keep your fingers crossed for safety of these 8 climbers. In pic - Martin on his most loved mountain. Since my friend, Ashish Chanda had posted a news clipping from a Hindi newspaper, which most of Indians and Nepalese, I thought it appropriate to post in English for the convenience of other members. Keeping our fingers crossed.
I know what you mean but I think it's pretty clear they were going for the summit and have not returned, with the alarm raised by their BC staff.
This also just online here in Australia: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-01/australian-among-climbers-missing-in-indias-himalayas-nanda-devi/11170968
An Italian FB friend has also posted that a Polish expedition is meant to be either at NDE BC or arriving soon.
Martin has had a fantastic guiding career in the Indian Himalaya, doing many first ascents and exploratory trips within a commercial structure. Really hope they're all OK.
Hope they're all alright. Martin's a great chap and I got the impression that these trips to the greater ranges are all about sustaining the climbing for him rather than a commercial venture.
Rescue team sent and expected to arrive at BC this evening India time. Sounds like some of the climbers didn't go on summit attempt and stayed at BC witnessing avalanche
Hopefully the group will all be ok
I think Chetan Pandey is part of the missing group as well. He has been a stalwart of Martin's recent trips. Lets hope this has a happy ending
The BBC are also reporting the story (Also citing the mountain as Nanda Devi- !!) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-48484689
The Sun at least has now removed its pics of Everest climbers....
Update that I have from India:
There are no sat phones as near Tibet border but they had walkie talkies and last comms from Martin's team was 26th May. The next day 2 went up from BC to see what's up and saw avalanche debris in area where team supposed to be. No chopper today due to weather. They are walking in but the approach takes days. They will try and heli a team of 2 tomorrow onto the ridge at longstaff's col. 4 of team stayed at BC and 8 missing.
Some people have mentioned nearby Polish team could help but they are also on the walk in and are days away
Will do. It is night in India now so nothing likely til tomorrow. The CNN article is as up to date as I am so suggest also keeping an eye on that
The Poles have now joined ground rescue team. Chopper expected to fly in good weather in the morning
Thanks for posting. I really hope they all get down ok.
Mark Thomas safe as one of the 4 at BC. He went up and it looks like site of avalanche at camp as only 1 tent when should have been several. I am hoping perhaps they are stuck above avalanche with supplies as I think climbing siege style rather than light alpine.
I am off hill running for several hours may not be able to update but if anyone gets anything feel free to add
Thank you for the regular updates.Fingers crossed that everyone manages a safe return.
On the news here, the choppers flew up, saw no sign of the climbers and are trying again in the morning.
There's some background and images here from Martin's previous attempt:
Back from run. This is latest that I have. Let me know if link doesn't work and will c and p
Hope they are found alive and ok.
Tents spotted no climbers
An official statement from the Moran Family:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in the Nanda Devi region of the Indian Himalaya.
As a family, we share the same emotions that all next of kin are experiencing in not knowing the whereabouts or wellbeing of those closest to us.
We are grateful to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation who are coordinating search and rescue efforts on the ground and in the air under extremely difficult conditions in a very remote area of the Himalaya.
The climbing group had set out to attempt an unclimbed, unnamed summit, Peak 6477m, and the last contact intimated that all was well and a summit bid would be made from a camp at around 5400m.
It is not entirely clear what happened from this point onwards or indeed the timeline of events. We do know that a British Mountain Guide who was in the area leading a trekking group, as part of the same expedition, was informed that the climbing group had not returned to basecamp as expected. He immediately went on the mountain to search for the missing climbers. There was clear evidence that a sizeable avalanche had occurred on the mountain and it seemed to be on or very near the route that would be taken by the climbing group. The Mountain Guide gave instructions to base camp to alert rescue authorities. The alarm was raised early on Friday morning 31st May.
Today we have been informed by the Indian Mountaineering Federation that an air search by helicopter has revealed the scale of the avalanche but no sign of the climbers, their equipment nor their tents.
We are pressing for the search area to be widened and continued until such time as firm evidence is found to ascertain the wellbeing or otherwise of all those in the climbing group.
We are grateful for all the support that has been offered to us and we will be sure to release any information as and when we receive it. In the meantime please respect the privacy that the next of kin of the climbers need as they seek solace at this harrowing time.
The Moran Family
With that official statement I will not continue updating this thread as we wait to hear further from the Moran family or via other official channels. Thoughts with all and the families involved.
Thank you for these updates Rebecca.
The 4 'rescued' climbers have been named here:
Mark Thomas, Zachary Quain, Ian Wade and Kate Armstrong.
Expected but still dreadful.
Condolences to families and friends
This has been very sad news, and feels quite close to home, being the kind of expedition many of us might aspire to one-day join, or at least dream about. And to be led by such a famous and well thought-of guide.
We're thinking of all the families and friends of those on the mountain. But also remembering just how much "being amongst the mountains" will have meant to all those involved.
Martin was an inspiration to me (not just his climbing exploits, but his vision of a mountaineering school in the Torridon hills and his drive to make it happen), and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him (think it was an Alpine club presentation about Himalayan peaks) and doing a winter course with him. I can’t fathom this turn of events - condolences to all families. I remember he lamented that he might be getting too old for such high mountains - I wish it was true.
I agree with what you say. It's hard to believe this tragedy has happened. Just like Andy Nesbit earlier in the winter lost on Ben Hope, who also worked for Martin for many years.
Both of them inspired me to climb in Scotland and the alps on four of Martin's courses I have attended since 1989.
Lost for words really and it is very sad.
Yeah I had his scottish winter munro's book, when he did them all over the winter.
Came across as a very normal, yet inspirational guy.
Though I didn't know him personally, I'm deeply saddened to hear of this news. It feels like it has been a tragic year for mountaineering, more so than any other I can immediately recall in the recent past.
Sincerest condolences to family and friends of all the climbers involved.
Very sad to hear this news about Martin Moran and fellow climbers. I didn't know Martin personally though my climbing partner had done many of his courses and spoke very highly of him.
Thoughts go out to all families of everyone involved at this hard time
I agree completely with your comments. Martin was my first guide in the Alps in 1985. His wife was working in Chamonix and when I ended up in hospital on that trip they both could not have been kinder, but before that happened I remember great conversations as we descended, not just about climbing, but about leaving accountancy and life in general. I had the great pleasure of climbing with his teams in Switzerland in three seasons more recently. He was a kind intelligent man with a twinkle in his eye and this is a great loss and I am very saddened by this turn of events.
My condolences to all families of those involved.
Really sad; didn’t know Martin M but loved his book and how he himself came across in it.
RIP, and condolences to all the families.
Well, that news is a total bummer. I went on 3 courses of Martin's after reading his munro round book and he was in my experience totally professional and, more than that, very human-it always struck me that it was not for nothing that he never climbed everest-I have no doubt he would have been more than capable, but that is not was he was about-it was the exploration of unknown places for the sheer mystery that drove him. I count myself fortunate to have experienced time with him-and Andy Nisbet on his courses. This, along with the loss of Tom Ballard his been a very rough year so far.
So many bright stars have left the night sky in recent years, and the world is dimmer for it.
Absolutely terrible news. I went on an Indian expedition with him (and Andy Nisbet) in 2000, and it was a terrific experience. Real exploration. Who knows what the future of his business will be, but I hope it continues in some guise, as a fitting memorial and reminder of a great life.
Awful news and my heart goes out to all of those connected to those lost.
I don't know most of those involved but I chatted with Martin many times and climbed with him occasionally while on his courses out of Torridon. He was so impressive and clearly one of the good guys who ran a tight ship. I am pretty shocked that he has gone so soon after Andy Nisbet who Martin employed and who I climbed with lots of times.
Martin once gave me a lift when I was hitching in Torridon. He was on his way home from a rescue callout, I think that speaks volumes about the kind of man he was. A real shame.
Great tribute which I think captures Martin perfectly
This is really sad news. I never met the man but have always been aware of his presence ever since reading his Scotland's Winter Mountains book which is still probably the best book on the subject ever written. A friend went on a winter skills course with him back in the late 80s/early 90s and observed that he went like a tractor over rough ground! Our small group of hillgoers had even internalised the subtitle to his book 'the challenge and the skills' as a shorthand, such as, when encountering difficult ground, stating that 'ooh this is all a bit challenge and the skills isn't it?'
Silly stuff, but he was part of the warp and weft and his presence will be missed.
I've read both Alps 4000 & Selected climbs, which were inspirational to me when starting out on my brief Alpine career a few years ago. I went on to have the privilege of meeting him at the hut Val d’Ayas.
I and my partner were poring over a dog eared photocopy of his route description for Castor, our intended destination for the following day, when he peered over our shoulders and said something like " I recognise that route description - perhaps a bit dated now" and proceeded to give us some more up to date information. I was a bit startled and, stupidly, a bit defensive about having a photocopy rather than the book (I did own the book). Saw him again the next day close to the summit, and received a warm greeting.
He came across as a very lovely and genuine person, always willing to help and offer advice and guidance.
When I first got into climbing Martin characterized everything I looked for in terms of inspiration. After a mishap on Lochnagar in winter I was looking to regain some confidence and also wanted to test myself on something more demanding - Martin was an obvious choice. When I told him I fancied Astral Highway on the Ben he was visibly excited, having not climbed it before. It says a lot about his confidence and adventurous spirit that he was more than willing to indulge my idea, despite only having met me for the first time that morning. It was a perfect late season winters day, the route was very thin and I got everything I had hoped for from the experience, he was evidently delighted with the day too!
Fast forward several years and we climbed together again on Mingulay & Pabbay but this time as ‘equals’. When we changed islands in the middle of the week everyone, myself included, was set for a rest day, but not Martin. He convinced me to head over and climb Endolphin Rush with him, the steepest trad route I’ve done, perfect rest day material
He's the kind of climbing partner I always look for.. ambitious yet relaxed, confident but humble and always positive about the possibilities.
A huge loss, but his spirit will live on with all those he has inspired over the years.
RIP to all.
Sad news. I never met him but his book 'Scotland's Winter Mountains' was a total inspiration to me back in the early 90's as I got into walking & climbing. His stories of racing Mick Fowler to FAs in remote NW corries really captured my imagination. RIP.
very sad news indeed, I did a couple of courses with Martin back in the early 2000s and his friendliness and professionalism made spending time with him a joy. I was a bit overweight for climbing back then after watching me struggle badly to jumar up a free hanging rope he commented that I would make a good "mountaineer" rather than a rock climber.
it was a kind of pleasantly worded insult I think and still makes me laugh twenty years on. Thoughts with his family at a sad time,
I only once bumped into Martin on the Weissmies, when he joked he thought we were an Army team due to our uniformly short hair and (coincidental) green kit.
I did however climb with one of the other victims (if indeed, as we suspect, they now are), on the Alphubel, the Allalinhorn, the Feechopf, the Jegihorn, my first summit of Mont Blanc and some routes in Scotland. Indeed, we once had a near-miss with an avalanche approaching the Gliere after a heavy snowfall. We weren't that close as partners, but did share a couple of good trips through this forum, not least that MB summit.
Along with the recent publicity around Everest, it has sparked a good few conversations and questions from my family and non-climbing friends. I have been responding with I am sure the same kind of words that I always have, only with a little more poignancy than before, as he is the first acquaintance to die in the mountains.
RIP Rich, I am sure you were enjoying the challenge as always, and I still cherish that excellent picture of you peeking over the sentry-box where we dodged the falling block near the Gendarme Wherlin!
I dont know how much of this reporting is accurate. Mark Thomas is someone I have enormous respect for.
well worth watching the whole of Mark's account.
I am an outsider here. On 30th March 2018 I made my first booking with Martin as an older private client for assistance in completing the Munros. His professionalism, generosity and kindness in helping me achieve that and subsequently in overcoming considerable post-Munro doldrums have been humbling. In April he started introducing me to other Scottish hills and new hill skills, getting more out of this client than she knew she had. We had another voyage of discovery planned for July. His expertise and enthusiasm, patience and willingness to slow himself to my pace and the sheer pleasure of his company will be sorely missed. When I do return to the hills the memory of Martin will be with me.
I can't add any words to the tributes here to Martin Moran. I'm just one more of the people who found inspiration in his Winter Munros and Alps 4000 books. Without them I wouldn't have achieved the modest few entries in my personal logbook, nor would I have the treasured memories of times in the high mountains. Sincerest condolences to Martin's family and friends, and to all those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
This interesting perspective was posted yesterday:
Some further news in.
Another wonderful eulogy here:
Looks like the Indians have retrieved 7 bodies but Martin's wasn't one of them
In reply :
Some final video shot before the avalanche:
Saw it via the BBC. All very sad. I guess we don't know how the video footage relates to the accident in terms of timing but I was surprised at how nice the weather looked. The ridge seems covered in fresh snow, but they aren't really post-holing. I was under the impression from news report that the weather was worse than that, it looks lovely.
Condolences to all who had family and friends in the group.
Yes, I thought the same. Maybe they triggered a slide a bit further up and one slipped, taking the rest of them on the rope.
There is another video being circulated, that I will not link to, of supposedly ITBP personnel 'digging' out two bodies. The deceased may be recognisable to friends by their clothing/gear, but otherwise they are not identifiable.
But it's a pretty tasteless act to post it publicly, and in case anyone is thinking of watching it, as I did, there's no need to. Though unpleasant, it's pretty uneventful. What it does show, however, is that they were not buried under a great deal of snow, or ice blocks, and the two bodies were very much intact.
I was puzzled by the fact that the video shows them ascending a ridge, which is in theory the least likely place to be hit by an avalanche.
I think it's worth sharing the following chapter, called "A job for life", from the end of Martin's excellent autobiography "Higher Ground", which I've abridged below:
"Mountain climbing, in its finest guise, is a triumph of human spirit over the shakles of convention. ... The true mountain guide offers companionship, the sharing of adventure, discovery of the natural world, the coaching of skills and the mastery of self confidence, while generating an enormous amount of fun in the process.
... A Guide must strike a compromise between scraping a conventional living whilst transmitting the spirit of an alternative lifestyle ... Ultimately we are all bound by some sort of convention, but on the mountains our clients can taste of another plane of consciousness. We can lead them to a state of exalted exhaustion at the summit, and help them sense what Bill Murray described as 'the evidence of things unseen'.
Of my clients, I have most admired those who reveal their humanity through their climbing; the Munro-baggers who steal precious weekends to pursue their task; the friends who support each other's goals to the exclusion of their own; the alpinists who revel in climbing a snowy 'facile' in the aftermath of a storm as much as a top-notch 'grande course'; those who are enthralled to see new horizons; and all who sustain their sense of wonder in life through the hills.
William Blake had intuition of a later truth when he wrote:
'Great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street'.
Mountains do bring out the best in people, and we can all descend to petty squabble and temptation if we are not inspired by the beauty of wild places or united in the face of danger. Nonetheless, I have been endlessly inspired by the ingenuity, endurance and passion that drive the daily lives of my clients, and mountains are only one part of that. After thirty years of guiding people from most walks of life I am persuaded of the inherent decency and goodness of humanity.
Those who turn to the mountains find enlightenment through their experiences on higher ground. That truth is not in doubt, and what greater reward is there in a career than to have helped people make some sense of their lives?"
> I was puzzled by the fact that the video shows them ascending a ridge, which is in theory the least likely place to be hit by an avalanche.
It would be inappropriate to show any film taken nearer where the accident occurred, it would cause pointless speculation, they might not have filmed anymore, it could be in the hands of a coroner etc.
I'd say it is appropriate for the relatives to see some footage of them out doing what they enjoyed. End of.
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