A 14-member team if mountaineers has left for Pindari Glacier to retrieve through land routes the bodies of five climbers who died last month on their way to the Nanda Devi East peak.
The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) team left for Pindari glacier in Bageshwar district through which it intends to retrieve the bodies, spotted close to an unscaled peak by air force helicopters on June 3, Bageshwar SP Lokeshwar Singh said.
The team comprising 12 climbers and two cooks will camp at Kharkov before proceeding further towards the glacier, he said.
The ascent to the Pindari zero point from where the team will move eastward to the Nanda Devi East peak might take a couple of days more, he said.
The decision to bring back the bodies by the land route was taken last week following repeated futile attempts to retrieve them using Indian Air Force helicopters, amid the high altitude turbulence and bad weather.
Pithoragarh District Magistrate VK Jogdande under whose supervision the initial operations were carried out to locate the bodies has released Rs 10 lakh for another team of rescuers formed under the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) for a ground expedition to be conducted from Munsiyari side to retrieve the bodies, District Information Officer, Pithoragarh said.
The ITBP team will leave for Munsiyari on Wednesday and will leave for the base camp the next day, he said.
An eight-member team of mountaineers, including seven foreign nationals, on its way to Nanda Devi East peak in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand, was reported missing since May 25.
The bodies were spotted on June 3 by IAF helicopters near an unscaled peak close to the Nanda Devi East peak. The three other mountaineers are yet to be traced.
The team was led by well-known British climber Martin Moran. It included three other climbers from the UK, two from the US and one from Australia, besides an officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi.
The missing climbers are Martin Moran, John McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert Havel from the UK, Anthony Sudecam and Rachel Bimmel from the US, Ruth Macrain from Australia and IMF's Chetan Pandey.
The team had left Munsiyari near Pithoragarh on May 13 to scale the Nanda Devi East peak but did not return to the base camp on May 25 as scheduled. The team had started from Munsiyari 132 km from the district headquarters.