Newly released footage from a GoPro camera offers what is believed to be the last glimpse of a team of climbers before they died scaling India’s second-highest mountain in May.
On Monday, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police shared the video taken by one of the eight mountaineers, who are thought to have died in an avalanche. The nearly two-minute clip shows the group trekking up snow-blanketed Nanda Devi in the Himalayas.
In one shot, they’re on a darkened peak fiddling with their gear, surrounded by blustering winds. In the next shot, they’re in daylight. The sounds of crunching snow and heavy breathing are heard before the footage ends.
Leading the expedition was Martin Moran, a Cambridge-educated certified British Mountain Guide who co-founded a climbing group called Moran Mountain with his wife, Joy.
The ascent of Nanda Devi began on May 13. It was a successful start judging from a May 22 Facebook post reporting the climbers’ status.
“In the words of Royal Robbins ‘A first ascent is a creation in the same sense as is a painting or a song’ We wish them all the very best of luck and an incredible climb!” the update read.
According to the British Association of Mountain Guides (BMG), a May 25 message from Moran, who was climbing an unnamed peak with a smaller group from the expedition, “indicated that all was well, the weather was good and their intentions were to attempt the summit in the early hours of the following day.”
After that, he went silent.
Another member of the team went out in search of the climbers and could not initially locate them. Instead, he discovered that a massive avalanche had crashed into the route that Moran’s group was believed to have taken.
At that point, rescue services were alerted.
In late June, Moran Mountain said on Facebook that it had learned that seven bodies had been recovered: two Americans, three Britons, one Indian and one Australian. On Sunday, the BMG said “there is no reason to doubt” that they were the missing climbers.
Moran himself has still not been found, though the BMG mourned his death in a statement.
“Martin has been a member of our association for thirty-four years and within this close-knit group of fewer than two hundred individuals he has worked and climbed alongside nearly all of us,” the organization said. “Our thoughts go out to his family and friends and to those of his clients at this terrible time.”