Search For Shimla Trekker Called Off, Two Weeks After He Went Missing On Friendship Peak In Kullu

The search operation for a mountaineer who went missing on the Friendship Peak in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, after an avalanche hit him has been called off.

The trekker, identified as Ashutosh, a resident of Adhshala village in Shimla, had gone missing near the summit of 17,340 feet high Friendship Peak in Manali on November 19.


Hit by avalanche while returning 

Ashutosh, along with two others, identified as Sachin and Sahil, had started their trek to the peak on November 17. 

However, Sachin returned to the base camp due to high-altitude sickness while the remaining two continued their journey.

Ashutosh, on the edge of the mountain, was hit by an avalanche on November 19 when he was just 20 meters short of the summit and fell towards the Dhundi–Atal tunnel side. Sahil, who was ahead of him as they returned, escaped unhurt.

He returned to Manali and reported the matter to the police, following which a nine-member search team was formed to look for the missing trekker.


Multi-agency search operation 

Teams of the Indian Army’s Dogra Scouts, Tiranga Mountain Rescue team of the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Adventure Tour Operators Association and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports had been searching for him ever since.

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On Monday, the search teams found the helmet, Ice axe, and headlamp of Ashutosh.

The search teams also used Reco/Radar technique to find the missing trekker.

The Recco/Radar is a rescue technology used to locate people buried by an avalanche or lost outdoors. The system is based on a harmonic radar system composed of a detector and a passive reflector integrated into outdoor clothing and gears.


Weather conditions unfavourable 

The site where he went missing is around 15,000 feet, with temperatures ranging between minus 10 to 15 degrees C. The area is avalanche prone, hampering the search operations.

According to ABVIMAS Director Avinash Negi, the operation was difficult because of hidden crevasses in the glacier and it was risky to continue it.

Authorities called off the search operation on Saturday due to the unfavourable weather conditions.

Friendship Peak is a hill in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district with a height of 5,289 meters (17353 ft.) above sea level in the Pir Panjal range.

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