Just when the obvious danger of avalanches had just forced the suspension of the autumn expeditions to Manaslu and Dhaulagiri, two of the 14 eight thousand planet, an avalanche has caused a tragedy in the Indian Himalayas. At least ten mountaineers have died on the slopes of Draupadi Ka Danda II, a scene in which another 20 people have also disappeared, all members of the Nehru Institute Mountaineering. The accident, which occurred on Tuesday, affected a group of 41 climbers, 34 of them in training under the supervision of seven instructors working on the 5,600-meter mountain located in the Gangotri range, Garhwal, in northern India. The local media have indicated that the tragedy occurred during the descent from the top and confirmed in recent hours the discovery of ten bodies, in a nightmare scenario in which at least 20 more buried are missing.
Indian Army helicopters went to the crash site, evacuating several wounded (at least 8, according to local media) and getting involved in the search for possible survivors. It is unknown if the group was equipped with avalanche victim detectors (AVD), as well as probes and shovels to carry out a quick rescue. Otherwise, the chances of finding survivors among the debris of the avalanche decrease rapidly. Another factor that casts enormous pessimism regarding the final outcome of the accident is the fact that most of the mountaineers were tied up in groups, creating a tragic anchor effect. This was confirmed yesterday by Ridhim Aggarwal, inspector general of the rescue forces operating in the area, one of the most remote in the state of Uttarakhand, near the border with China.
The group of students and instructors began their class on September 14, taking safety classes in mid-mountain as well as rock climbing. They also moved to a neighboring glacier to learn glacier progression and crevasse rescue techniques, and the group had planned their ascent to Draupadi Ka Danda II to gain knowledge of high-mountain circulation.
Autumn in the Himalayas has been marked by continuous precipitation, in the form of snow in the heights. This explains the three avalanche deaths that have occurred in the Manaslu and explains, in part, the fatal accident that Hilaree Nelson suffered when she herself triggered a small avalanche that made her fall down the south face of that same mountain when she was planning the descent. on skis from the opposite slope. The danger of avalanches is one of the most difficult tasks to solve for a mountaineer, however experienced they may be.
Nivology is a science that requires a huge investment of study time to understand it, and not even the great experts can say categorically when an avalanche will be triggered. On the other hand, such well-established knowledge makes it possible to create a reasonable doubt that invites a climber to give up a specific exit or to postpone it so as not to be exposed to unnecessary risk.
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An avalanche in the Indian Himalayas causes at least 10 deaths
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