Himalayan Journal vol.44
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.44

Publication year:
1988

Editor:
Soli S. Mehta
Index
  1. EDITORIAL
  2. MOUNTAINS AND RIVERS OF THE HIMALAYA: THEN AND NOW
    (JACK GIBSON)
  3. MEMORIES
    (MAVIS HEATH)
  4. ZHANGZI - AUTUMN, 1987
    (JOSS LYNAM)
  5. BRITISH XIXABANGMA Expedition, 1987
    (LT COL M. W. H. DAY)
  6. MENLUNGTSE, 1987
    (CHRIS BONINGTON)
  7. KINGDOM OF THE THUNDER DRAGON
    (S. K. BERRY)
  8. RATHONG, 1987
    (MAJOR K. V. CHERIAN)
  9. PANDIM - DIARY OF A WAR-TIME ESCAPADE
    (LORD JOHN HUNT)
  10. MAKALU
    (GLENN PORZAK)
  11. CHO OYU, 1987
    (Dr MAURICIO A. PURTO)
  12. KUMAON SECRETS
    (GEOFF HORNBY)
  13. FIRST ASCENT OF CHIRBAS PARBAT, 1986
    (INDRANATH MUKHERJEE)
  14. KALANAG EAST FACE EXPEDITION, 1986
    (W. J. POWELL)
  15. CHURDHAR MORE OF THE LESSER
    (WILLIAM MCKAY AITKEN)
  16. A RETURN TO LINGTI, 1987
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  17. ASCENT OF KARCHA PARBAT, 1986
    (J. K. PAUL and S. N. DHAR)
  18. A TRYST WITH PHABRANG, 1987
    (ANIL KUMAR)
  19. BRITISH KISHTWAR EXPEDITION, 1986
    (BOB REID and EDWARD FARMER)
  20. CANADIAN KASHMIR HIMALAYAN
    (JOHN A. JACKSON)
  21. UNKNOWN SPITI: THE MIDDLE COUNTRY
    (HARISH KAPADIA)
  22. PICNIC ON A GLACIER -A KARAKORAM JOURNEY
    (STEPHEN VENABLES)
  23. THE GOLDEN PILLAR
    (A. V. SAUNDERS)
  24. PROBLEMS OF ACCURACY IN REPORTING MOUNTAINEERING
    (ELIZABETH HAWLEY)
  25. HIMALAYA-OUR FRAGILE HERITAGE
    (N. D. JAYAL)
  26. THE CONTINUING STORY OF THE HIMALAYAN CLUB
    (M. H. CONTRACTOR)
  27. EXPEDITIONS AND NOTES
  28. IN MEMORIAM
  29. BOOK REVIEWS
  30. CORRESPONDENCE
  31. CLUB PROCEEDINGS, 1987

FIRST ASCENT OF CHIRBAS PARBAT, 1986

INDRANATH MUKHERJEE

CHIRBAS PARBAT (6529 m) was first observed by us in 19851 from the northern side, which seemed more feasible to us than the southern approach from which previous attempts had been made.

The northern side of the mountain lies within the inner line area of Garhwal Himalaya, which requires special entry permit. The permission was obtained at the last moment, as usual.

Our team consisted of 16 members though we planned for a lighter force for the high altitudes. This decision paid its dividend when our porters deserted us before the scheduled base camp and the members themselves did the ferrying to the higher camps.

We reached Bhaironghati on 25 May, 1986 with 4 HAPs. We were informed that the military road to Nelang had been breached due to the excessive snowfall in 1985. We sent for a few porters from Harsil. The weather was extremely bad. It was raining everyday. We received reports that even Gaumukh had become inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. On the 26th snow fell even at Gangotri.

We started ferrying luggage right from Bhaironghati. On the very first day (26th) one of our members, Barun Chakraborti was hit by falling boulders on the way to Karchha. He was thrown 10 m down towards the Jadh Ganga but was miraculously saved from further descent to the narrow river gorge hundreds of metres below. The team doctor put 8 stitches in him. Another ITBP personnel was also injured in the incident and he received 2 stitches.

We sent a 3-member recce team to find the route beyond Nelang. 6 porters and 6 mules arrived on the 28th and took the remaining load to Nelang, the next day. A kilometre beyond Nelang there is a wooden bridge on Jadh Ganga. We camped on the left bank of the river. The mules were released from there.

About 2 km further upstream a nala named Gulli Gad meets Jadh Ganga from the south. {Sirkata is the name of the flat camping ground on the left bank at about 4000 m. We were forced to set our base camp there due to various reasons. To reach the base camp site we had to climb a steep slope from our camp near Nelang. There was slight trace of a previously maintained narrow track. We climbed about 150 m and then traversed the slope on the left bank of the river. We had to fix rope in a steep narrow gully which was snow-covered. Next, there were signs of earlier snow-avalanches on a wider ice-covered gully. We climbed down this gully and went ahead to reach the confluence of Gulli Gad and Jadh Ganga.

Photo 17
  1. See H.J. Vol. 42, p. 54.-Ed.
There was snowfall again on the 30th at Sirkata resulting in the departure of the porters the next morning. In the meantime our recce team were able to set 2 tents on the left bank of Gulli Gad at about 4760 m. They were unable to reach our last year's camp site, further deeper into the gorge but lower in altitude (4660 m).

On the 31st Gautam, Sher, and Rao went ahead with 3 HAPs to the emergency camp at 4820 m. Load was ferried to the usual camp site at 4660 m (intermediate camp) the next day. The 1st of June was spent in a recce towards ABC at 5030 m which was BC for the 1985 team. The area was totally covered with snow in 1986. Chirbas could be seen through a side nala which led the climbers to the ABC. Till then, the route along the left bank of Gulli Gad was very steep, right from the BC. The intermediate snow and ice patches on the otherwise moraine and rocky slopes made the traversing extremely difficult. Rope had to be fixed at two different pitches. The entire traversing could have been avoided had the team followed the frozen bed of the Gulli Gad all along from BC to reach the intermediate camp site. But there was potential danger of getting hit by boulders. In fact boulders were continuously falling from both the sides of the narrow gorge of the nala.

The side nala leading to the ABC site was also frozen at stages. Occasional rockfall was observed. The comparatively safer side, the right bank, was followed though it had ice deposition all through. The recce team did not take the risk and had climbed the tedious moraine ridge on the left bank of the nala. ABC was established on 2 June and it was further strengthened later when Indra and Pradip Jash occupied it. The intermediate camp was manned by Shyam and a HAP while other members settled at the base camp after exhausting ferries.

On 4 June Gautam, Sher and Rao started from ABC with 3 HAPs to gain the col between Chirbas and Kalidhang. They made it on the 6th, leaving 2 HAPs below the steep ice and snow slope before the col. The entire route from ABC to the foot of the col was almost free from ice during 1985 and was reached in one day. But in 1986 the situation was quite different. The knee deep snow covering numerous moraine ridges and gullies took two tiring days before they reached the foot of the snow and ice slope below the col. The snow slope was initially gradual but later became steeper.

They were four members and had only one dome tent between them which was pitched on the col. The altitude was about 5790 m. It was 6 June. After the start from the base camp the weather turned to be excellent with bright sunshine and blue cloudless sky. They could see the other side of the great watershed towards the Gangotri through Deogad Bank. Deo Parbat was directly to the south. In the northeast the unnamed peaks 6245 m and 6020 m on the Gulli Dhar were clearly visible.

There was a rocky ridge leading towards the summit of Chirbas Parbat This ridge, a broken mass of rock in frozen ice with varying inclination, posed potential danger to the climbers, necessitating fixed rope. The weather deteriorated on 6th.

On the 7th in the morning Gautam and Sher went with the remaining 100 m of rope to fix on the ridge leaving only 30 m for climbing. They decided to fix it on the most severe zone of the ridge. It was a stormy day which saw snowfall in the afternoon. Gautam and Sher came back early. They required more rope to negotiate the rocky ridge fully. In the night, it was decided that the next day only two would go for the summit.

Fortunately 8 June was a clear day excepting an early morning cloud at the col providing a very cold, dampy morning. The wind came to the rescue and by about 9 a.mf it was absolutely clear. Gautam and $her started at about 9.30 a.m, A very late start indeed. They reached the top of the fixed rope in about 2 hrs.

After reaching the top of the broken rocky ridge, Gautam and Sher came across a wide kilometre-long convex ridge leading towards the summit. The summit was not visible from there. The inclination was varying. There remained about 300 m to cover vertically. Three hours had already passed. They started climbing the slope.

Initially it was broad enough but gradually it narrowed. The climbers were moving up across the slope keeping themselves a few feet away from the crest of the ridge on the left. There was no rock projection after the rocky ridge negotiated earlier. To the right a few hundred metres below, the Deo Parbat ridge had merged with the Chirbas massif. The snow was soft enough to provide a good grip. Occasionally, on steeper ice slopes crampons were needed. It took about 2 hours more to reach the desired point, the summit. It was a flat-top-ridge running down to Matri. The drop was very sharp on the northern side, Gulli Gad but gradual on the southern side, Gangotri side. The sky was partially cloudy but Matri could be seen clearly.

Towards the distant south a portion of a wide glacier was observed and was the Gangotri glacier. The peak partially covered by its side was Shivling. A few photographs were taken on the summit by Gautam. It was 2.40 p.m. After a stay of 20 minutes on the summit the climbers started retracing their steps.

They returned to the col camp at about 7.30 p.m. They retrieved the fixed rope but left the pitons on the ridge. They were greeted by the other two climbers in the quiet, windless and clear evening.

All six climbers returned to the ABC on 9 June at about 3 p.m. and were received by the leader and Pradip Jash. Next day, everybody returned to the base camp winding up the intermediate camp on the way. The team descended by the gorge route along the frozen nala bed. The emergency camp had been wound up earlier.

On the 11th a rope was fixed across the Jadh Ganga at Sirkata by which everybody came on to the right bank of the river. They camped beside the army pony track. Ponies, which were arranged previously arrived in the afternoon. The team reached Bhaironghati on 12 June.

Members: Indranath Mukherjee (leader), Gautam Dutta (climbing leader), K. Tarakeswar Rao, Pradip Jash, Sher Singh, Shyam Sunder Chatterjee, Soven Paik, Shyamal Biswas, Nripendranath Burman, Dr Subir Hazra Chowdhury, Barun Sana, Sandip Mukherjee, Debasis Acharya, Jayanta Banerjee, Dipak Mukherjee and Barun Chakraborti.

Summary: First ascent of Chirbas Parbat (6529 m) on 8 June 1986 by two members of Kangchenjunga Foundation, Calcutta.

Chirbas Parbat (right) From ABC.  										(I. Mukherjee)

Chirbas Parbat (right) From ABC. (I. Mukherjee)



Chirbas Parbat Expedition

Chirbas Parbat Expedition