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Return to N anda Devi - 50 years on (A ramble down memory lane - what's left of it!) My memory is a bit like an Indian road, full of potholes, and at times nonexistent; so please bear with me for a very personal recollection. I am also one of the children of Mr. Gurdial Singh's marriage to the mountains. His accounts of the mountain experience took me there, and his description of the 'wide open spaces' of Canada made that my home. I remember a three- dimensional model of Everest in his classroom at Doon on which we followed every exciting move of the successful British ascent in July 1953. Mr. Gurdial Singh (Guru) will be 90 on the first of January 2014. Inspired by Eric Shipton's account, "Nanda Devi", in 1961, my dear friend, the late Billy Jind (241 J '52) and I, decided to try to get into the Nanda Devi Sanctuary during the summer vacation. Unfortunately Billy was unable to go, but I had an extraordinary stroke of luck; Guru was taking an expedition in to Devisthan and he very generously invited me to join the group. The year was 1961, and I was 18 years of age. The other members - Hari Dang (28), then a schoolmaster at Doon, Guru (38), and Brig. Sukhdev Singh (48) made for the very varied and fascinating group I was honoured to climb with. I do remember one night we were camped at Patalkhan (the legendary "horizontal oasis in a vertical desert"); where Hari Dang refused to bathe in the glacial stream, so we had him pitch his tent on the other side of the meadow to avoid his BO. This place also has a sad association for the Doon School in that one of our Geography masters, Mr. Chakravarti, on a previous expedition, succumbed to pulmonary edema and died here before the rescue helicopter could get to him. The mountaineering literature on this area is now extensive, but at the time of our 1961 attempt on Devisthan, only three previous visits had been made to the Sanctuary - Shipton/ Tilman (1934), 10l Rose Bowl January 2014 Tilman/Odell first ascent of Nanda Devi (1936) and a tragic French expedition to Nanda Devi (1951). In the 10 years since the French visit, all signs of human interference had vanished; even the wild animals had no fear and came toward us. It was a return to one of the most pristine ecological preserves on the planet. We were in the mountains for almost two months [our trip is described in the Doon School publication 'For hills to climb'] and it aroused in me a love of the mountain environment that is still fresh. I am forever grateful to Guru for providing me with this life changing opportunity. I have come to the Himalaya a few times since: from the UK overland in 1965 to attempt Bhramma in the Kishtwar region, from Canada in 197 5 (first ascent of Swargarohini), and 1979 (first ascent of Srikanta). So it is no wonder that approaching the age of 70, I should have on my "bucket list", the task of introducing my sons to this wonderful experience. Clearly a return "pilgrimage" to N anda Devi was indicated.

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