Top Team to Attempt New Route on Nanda Devi East

Manu Pellissier of France, Marko Prezelj of Slovenia, and Archil Badriashvili of Georgia, all winners of at least one Piolet d’Or, will attempt a new alpine-style route up Nanda Devi East in the Indian Himalaya.

The team, led by Pellissier, flew to India last week. The new line targets the 2,000m-high face of Nanda Devi East, reported.

The climbers smile on a summit photo

Left to right, Marko Prezelj and Manu Pellissier on the summit of Cerro Kishtwar in 2015, with Urban Novak and Hayden Kennedy. Photo: Marko Prezelj


Veterans Pellissier and Prezelj have known each other for decades. Together, they climbed Spantik and then Cerro Kishtwar, which earned them a Piolet d’Or. They met Badriashvili when they visited Georgia in 2018 and climbed Skara, the country’s highest peak. Badriashvili then visited Slovenia.

Badriashvili with helmet, climbing harness and crampons, on an icy ramp

Archil Badriashvili. Photo: Facebook


Nanda Devi is the second-highest peak in India after Kangchenjunga, but much more remote. The 7,434m Eastern summit, also known as Sunanda Devi, is 382m below the main point. However, the main summit of Nanda Devi and the so-called Sanctuary of surrounding mountains are in a specially protected national park and are closed to climbing. The Eastern point is not. Read more about the mountain and its fascinating history here.

Nanda Devi East has been climbed several times, but always by the same classic southeast ridge route, opened by a Polish team in 1939. Attempts on a new line have failed so far. Prezelj told PSZ that if conditions are right, the plan is to climb a characteristic pillar up the mountain’s East Face. Prezelj explained that climate change has impacted the glaciers. The team will make their final route choice at the base of the mountain.

Sunanda Devi's East face, Indian Himalaya

Nanda Devi East, showing the East Face at sunrise. Photo: Martin Moran/The Himalayan Journal

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.