KARCHA PARBAT EXPEDITION, 1991

SATYAJIT KAR

THIS YEAR WE dedded to make an attempt to climb Karcha Parbat (6270 m) in Lahul Himalaya. This peak was first scaled by an expedition team from Ireland1 and Diganta, Calcutta2 was the first Indian team to climb the peak in the year 1986.

Four members of our club, the Calcutta Trekkers Youth, West Bengal, left for Manali as advance party on 21 August. The remaining members of our team left Calcutta on 23 August, and met the advance party at Batal on 27 August. In the meantime, the advance party ferried their loads upto Grelu Thaj (4270 m) which was made a transit camp for the expedition team on 28 August. Grelu Thaj is on the left bank of Karcha nala. First we came to the confluence of Karcha nala and Chandra river after 20 minutes walk from Batal. Then we continued for 3 hours and came down to the riverbed to cross an ice-bridge. The path was steep and on a scree slope on the right bank of the nala. After crossing the ice-bridge we went towards the northeast along the left bank of Karcha nala. After a 2 hour walk we reached Grelu Thaj.

On 30 August, we started for the base camp, early in the morning. Just after an hour's walk from transit camp, crossing a ice-bridge, we came to the right bank of Karcha nala. After another 45 minutes through heaps of moraine and loose boulders, we reached a piece of flat land and established our base camp (4450 m).

We established ABC (4900 m) and Cl (5330 m) by 1 September. On 2 September, we took the route through the southwest ridge of Karcha Parbat. Through boulders we went on. After about 5 hours we found a shelf beside a big rock and established C2 (5730 m). We did not want to waste any time as the weather was favourable and decided to attempt the summit very next day. So we began to prepare ourselves from 2.45 a.m. on 3 September for the journey to the summit. At 4.15 a.m. Ashim, Gopal, Sabbya and Monika alongwith the 3 HAPs left C2 and started for the summit. First they traversed some rock, and made their way through "loose boulders. After overcoming a big rock they came on the top of the main ridge. Later they arrived at two snow-patches and crossed cautiously. Though the route was through loose rocks, the gradient, was moderate, which helped them progress without any disturbance. Crossing the last snow patch they reached a big boulder. This was also negotiated and from there the peak was about 50 m away. They took some rest and reached the top at 7.20 a.m. The summit was about 3 m long and 1 m wide. They stayed on the summit for 70 minutes, then they came down to C2 and after lunch came to ABC.

1. See H.J. Vol. XXI, p. 97, Vol. XXXV, p. 298

2. See H.J. Vol. 44, p. 102. - Ed.

The first Ukranian Himalayan expedition was led by Prof Vladimir Shumichin. They tried a new route, on east face. After three tries they changed to the southern ridge and descended the normal north route. Three climbers reached the summit on 6 May 1991.

Peak climbed by japanese expedition led by Yuko Niwa. They followed the northwest ridge. Two parties reached the summit on 3 and 6 October 1992.

First ascent by a Nepal-Japan team led by Masanobu Okazaki and Gupta Bahadur Rana. Four climbers reached the summit on 13 October 1991. The peak lies to the east of Himlung Himal

On 4 September all of us met at camp and on 6 September we returned safely to Manali.

Members: Satyajit Kar (Leader), Manjul K De Sarkar, Gopal Roy, Ashim K Ghosh Chowdhury, Pradip K Dey, Ajoy Kumar Singh, Sabya Sachi Bose, Moloy K Ghosal, Bhaskar Das, Ms Monika Kar and Dr Dipankar Majhi.

Summary: The ascent of Karcha Parbat (6270 m) by an Indian team in August-September 1991.