Britons among eight climbers missing in Indian Himalayas

A number of British people have gone missing during an expedition in the Indian Himalayas.

The team of eight, reported to include four people from the UK, were climbing the 7,816-metre Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain.

British-based mountain guide Martin Moran, who owns trekking company Moran Mountain, was leading the group.

Reports suggest that a rescue operation, which began on Saturday but was called off on Sunday due to bad weather, is set to resume on Monday.

Vijay Kumar Jogdande, a civil administrator in northern India’s Uttarakhand state, said rescuers would be advised by four other team members who stayed back at the second base camp and were brought down on Sunday.

He said the alert was raised when the climbers did not return to the base camp on May 31.

An official statement from the Moran Family:We are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in the Nanda Devi…

Posted by Moran Mountain on Sunday, June 2, 2019

Climber Nigel Vardy, who has known Mr Moran for 20 years, described him as “an absolute professional and genuinely a really, really nice guy”.

During his 30-year mountaineering career, Mr Vardy once suffered frostbite on a climb in Alaska and Mr Moran helped him rebuild his confidence.

He said: “Martin is a fantastic guy but if the weather and the conditions are not with you, then no matter how skilled you are the mountain is going to have its way.”

Mr Vardy stated that Mr Moran “knows the area, he knows the mountains and knows what he is doing”. Mr Vardy said he is hoping for everyone’s safe return but concerns over safety deepen the longer that anyone is missing.

Amit Chowdhary, of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, suggested the location of the missing climbers had been known up to May 26.

He said that reports from the four other team members, who had gone out to look for the missing climbers, suggested there was evidence of a very large avalanche.

Mark Charlton, president of the British Association of Mountain Guides (BMG), said in a post on the organisation’s Facebook page that Mr Moran had been leading six clients and an Indian national.

“The BMG is assisting where possible and is in contact with the Indian authorities,” he said.

“At the moment this is all the information we have as communication is very difficult.”

A post on the Moran Mountain Facebook page said the company was working with authorities and the BMG to gather information about the expedition team.

An earlier post on May 13 showed the group beginning their trek “into the hills at Neem Kharoli Baba temple, Bhowali”.

According to an update on May 22, the group had reached their second base camp at 4870m and were due to make a summit attempt on an unclimbed peak at 6477m.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are in contact with the Indian authorities following reports that a number of British nationals are missing in the Indian Himalayas. We will do all we can to assist any British people who need our help.”

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