Life as pulp thriller: a lost atomic pile is sliding down from Himalayan peaks, and nobody's stopping it.
Schaller and a team of elite American and Indian climbers were to scale Nanda Devi and secure an instrument, powered by a plutonium generator. The device would intercept and transmit radio signals from the Chinese missile tests. The plutonium mixture would generate enough heat to make the electricity needed to power the transceiver, making the equipment self-sustaining in a hostile environment, a strategy since deployed in space as well.
In this 1960s spy thriller come to life, the CIA recruited an elite, secret team of spy-mountaineers, then trained them under cover of being astronauts. They ascended some of the world's tallest, deadliest mountains time and again, successfully installing one atomic-powered device on a nearby peak.
They left one device behind during an especially rough climb, but the thing was gone when they returned, along with its supporting cliff. It's been sliding down the glacier ever since, the same glaciers which feed the Ganges River and a bunch of India. Maybe traces have already been detected in the Ganges area; maybe it won't come to anything. Certainly it's an advance on the previous century's Great Game - take that, Kipling!
There's a Gothic aspect (and I first learned about Nanda Devi at a Gothic conference in Sweden), in that we're dealing with the eruption of the past into the present. Specifically a wartime past, the materials of the Cold War. It's akin to seeing an abandoned fortification loom in the dusk.
Additionally, the Seattle P-I article notes that one of the agents' records of the events are hidden away. Classic Gothic hidden object.