Former GOC member Richard Payne, known as Rich, was among a group of eight, led by British mountain guide Martin Moran, who died while climbing in the Indian Himalaya at the end of May this year. They were part of a 12-strong expedition whose main objective was to climb Nanda Devi East (7434m). As part of their acclimatisation and training prior to the main summit attempt, Martin and seven others, including Rich, left their second base camp on 21 May intending to climb an unnamed 6447m peak to the west of Longstaffe’s Col. The last contact from them was on 26 May. Due to the adverse weather conditions it was only on 7 June that seven of the bodies were spotted by helicopter and another two weeks before they were recovered by a team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Martin Moran is still missing. It is understood that the group was caught in an avalanche.
Rich and his partner Chris took part in a number of Adventure Out trips, including Highland Hogmanays, in the first half of this decade. GOC members who were on those trips remember him as a highly intelligent, thoughtful and calm person, who was a very skilled mountaineer, but always modest about his abilities and achievements.
Rich was also a highly respected environmental scientist, who had been a lecturer at York University for the past five years.
Our thoughts are with Rich’s partner Chris, friends and family.