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Grave fears for 'accomplished' climber

Extreme Sports 9News

A friend of Sydney woman Ruth McCance, missing in the Himalayas, said she'd honed her skills ahead of the trip, as teams battle to reach the avalanche-hit mountain.
'A Sydney mountaineer, feared dead along with seven companions after an avalanche in India's Himalayas, had returned to climbing in \'wild places\' after previously feeling \'overwhelmed by the risks\'. Sydney woman Ruth McCance is missing along with British team leader Martin Moran, three other men from the United Kingdom, two people from the United States and an Indian liaison officer, with grave fears for the group. The eight adventurers were part of a 12-member expedition attempting to summit a previously unclimbed route up Nanda Devi East. The team trekked into the heart of the Nanda Devi sanctuary \'with the ambition of summiting a virgin peak\', adventure company Moran Mountain said in a Facebook post on May 12. Meanwhile Ms McCance's husband, Trent Goldsack, told the Sydney Morning Herald she was \'well prepared\' for the feat. Mr Goldsack said he had last had a text from her a week ago saying she was at base camp, and said the news was \'pretty rough\'. He told 9News Indian military helicopters are attampting to reach the area. Peter Lowndes is a close friend of the couple, said: \'It's not her first trip into high altitude climbing. She's done previous expeditions, and spends a lot of her time honing her skills. \'Accomplished almost feels like an understatement when you, when you associate that with Ruth.\'  The complete trip was expected to take about 24 days. The company on May 22 wrote the team had reached its second base camp at almost 5000 metres above sea level and \'after a recce of the route, they will be making a summit attempt on an unclimbed peak at 6477m\'. The expedition's British deputy leader, Mark Thomas, remained at the second base camp with three others, but was in radio contact with the group of eight that pushed higher. When Mr Thomas didn't hear anything after May 26 he went up to look for them. He reportedly found a single unoccupied tent. There was evidence of a large avalanche beyond that. Websites linked to Ms McCance reveal an avid adventurer and sailor. The corporate coach, in a blog post, revealed she gave up rock climbing at age 30 because she had \'run out of mental and emotional reserves\'. \'As much as I loved it and saw others climbing safely and well, I became overwhelmed by the risks involved, so I stopped,\' she wrote in May 2016 alongside a picture of a rocky cliff. \'Each time I lead a climb successfully, rather than confirming my competence it became another lucky escape from what I believed was an inevitable accident.\' But, at 47-years-old, she returned to the mountains in a bid to find \'wild places that nourish my spirit for as long as my body will let me\'. She recounted how a 23-day trek in India became \'one of the most memorable\' trips in her life and how her and a friend were \'silenced\' by the beauty of the mountains in France following her return to climbing. A rescue team was trekking towards the 7434-metre Nanda Devi East peak, hoping that clearer weather on Sunday would allow some searchers to be flown in. \'We always have hope but to be practical, we have to be prepared for bad news,\' Indian Mountaineering Foundation spokesman Amid Chowdhury told AAP on Saturday. A rescue team of up to 20 people - including members of the Indian-Tibetan border police and the state disaster management force - left Munsiyari on Saturday morning local time, Mr Chowdhury said. But it will take them at least three days on foot to reach the avalanche site. Australia's foreign affairs department says it's providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian who \'may be among a group of trekkers missing in the Nanda Devi area of India\'. Moran Mountain, in another Facebook post on Sunday, said the company is working with authorities and the British Association of Mountain Guides to gather information about the fate of their expedition. \'Out of respect for those involved and their families, we will be making no further comments at this time,\' the post reads. With eight people missing on Nandi Devi, and 12 people dead so far on Everest, 2019 has turned into one of the Himalayas' deadliest.'