Failure on Nanda Devi East But First Ascent of a Lesser Peak

They didn’t succeed on Nanda Devi East, but Piolet d’Or winners Manu Pellisier of France, Marko Prezelj of Slovenia, and Archil Badriashvili of Georgia didn’t leave the Indian Himalaya empty-handed.

A climber up a mixed couloir, seen from below

Too warm weather, despite the wind. Photo: Manu Pellisier


They climbed in unusual conditions, to say the least. The recent heat wave that has scorched India also affected the mountains. The ISO 0 (the freezing point) was 6,500m!

Nanda Devi peak shines with alpenglow at sunset

Nanda Devi at sunset. Photo: Bhagwan Thakur


On Nanda Devi East, they reached 5,900m on the south face, but Pellisier’s brief report does not say why they had to turn back or if the warm weather had anything to do with it. Still, the team bagged a first ascent of nearby 6,344m Nanda Shori. There, they opened a route they called Dirty Dancing (M5/85/1,200m) in four days.

Finally, they opened another route on 6,322m Changush: an 80º, 1,000m line that they climbed in 18 hours return from their last camp.

Prezelj at a belay point on a mixed route in Nanda Devi area

Marko Prezelj. Photo: Manu Pellisier


Oh, and they also had a run-in with an ibex, but we’ll have to wait for the team to return for the details.

“A magnificent and wild place, welcoming people, a top team…a great adventure,” said Pellisier about their six-week sojourn.

The climbers at some indoor place

Left to right, Manu Pellisier, Marko Prezelj, and Archil Badriashvili.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.