Highlands & Islands

Climber Martin Moran's body 'still missing' in Himalayas

Martin Moran Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Martin Moran is a well-known name in the UK climbing community

The body of a British mountaineer who is believed to have died along with seven other climbers in the Himalayas has still not been found, according to British Mountain Guides.

Highlands-based Martin Moran had been leading the group on the ascent of an unclimbed and unnamed 21,250ft (6,477m) summit in the Nanda Devi region in May.

They were reported missing after an avalanche in the area.

The bodies of the other members of the group were recovered last month.

British Mountain Guides (BMG) said the body of Tyneside-born Mr Moran, one of its members, was still unaccounted for.

The rest of the group were John McLaren, Rupert Whewell and University of York lecturer Richard Payne from the UK; US nationals Anthony Sudekum and Ronald Beimel; Australian Ruth McCance; and Indian guide Chetan Pandey.

They had began the ascent on 13 May. Contact was lost on 26 May, a day before an avalanche hit the 7,816m-high mountain.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The group pictured before they began their ascent

Four other climbers who were part of the same expedition had earlier been rescued after turning back because of the bad weather.

BMG - a national body representing the interests of mountain guides working in the some of the world's highest mountains - said the operation to recover the seven bodies had been long and complicated due to the high altitude.

The organisation, which has paid tribute to Mr Moran, said it understood the bodies would be repatriated in the next few days. It said the thoughts of its members went out to all the families caught up in the tragedy.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "Our staff continue to support the family of a British man who is listed as missing whilst trekking in the Indian Himalayas.

"We are in contact with the Indian authorities responsible for carrying out identification and repatriation."

Mr Moran's family is holding a celebration of his life in Torridon, Wester Ross, on 13 July.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Moran and his group went missing in the Nanda Devi region

His name is legendary in UK climbing circles. He graduated in geography at Cambridge University before studying and qualifying as a chartered accountant.

But the outdoors, and in particular mountains, were his passion.

In the winter of 1984-85, Mr Moran and his wife Joy made the first completion of all Munros - more than 280 Scottish mountains with a height of 914m (3,000ft) or more - in a single winter season.

Himalayan expeditions

The Morans moved to Lochcarron, a small community in Wester Ross in the north west Highlands, and established their adventure holiday business, Moran Mountain.

Mr Moran's reputation as a mountaineer has also grown over the years.

In 1993, he and fellow climber Simon Jenkins climbed 75 4,000m (13,123ft) Alpine peaks in 52 days. The men cycled between the different ranges involved, rather than using motorised transport. making it the first self-propelled traverse of Alpine peaks of 4,000m.

The previous year, the Morans' business started offering guided Himalayan expeditions. Since then, the company has run more than 40 treks and climbs in the Indian Himalayas.

The business then offered climbing courses in Norway and Arctic mountaineering in 2005.

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