Club Proceedings, 2011-12

No. 65 (2011-2012)



(Founded on 17th February 1928)

President Brigadier Ashok Abbey
Vice President Mr. Tanil Kilachand,
Mr. Ravi Singh
Mr. Vijay Puri
Hon. Treasurer Mr. Deepak Bhimani
Hon. Secretary Ms. Nandini Purandare
Members of the Committee
Mr. Priyadarshi Gupta
Mr. Mandip S Soin
Dr. Raghunath Godbole
Mr. Divyesh Muni
Mr. Vijay Crishna
Mr. Shailesh Mahadevia
Mr. Harish Kapadia
Mr. Motup Chewang
Mr. Rajesh Gadgil
Mr. Rishad Naoroji
Additional Members of the Balloting Committee
Mr. Monesh Devjani
Mr. Manik Banerjee
Mr. Ravindra Apte
Gp. Capt. V. K. Sashidaran
Hon. Local Secretaries
Almora Himanshu Pandey
Bangalore Kamlesh Venugopal
Darjeeling Dorjee Lhatoo
Delhi Maninder Kohli
Jammu & Kashmir Sat Paul Sahni
Kolkata Dr. Rupamanjari Biswas
Leh Motup Chewang
Manali Mahavir Thakur
Mussoorie Krishnan Kutty
Mumbai Rajendra Kumar Mahajan
Pune Dr. Raghunath Godbole
Shimla Deepak Sanan
Australia Garry Weare
France Claude Gardien
Japan Yoshio Ogata
Korea Bae Seung Youl
Nepal Elizabeth Hawley
New Zealand John Nankervis
Pakistan Nazir Sabir
Spain Jose Paytubi
South Africa Dr. S. A Craven
Sweden Ake Nilsson
Switzerland Eric Bernhardt
U.K. Martin Scott
U.S.A. Donald Goodman
Nicholas Clinch
Paddy Iyer
Hon. Editor Rajesh Gadgil
Hon. Associate Editor Nandini Purandare
Hon. Librarian Group Group Capt V K Sashindran
Hon. Asst. Librarians
Mumbai Rajeev Das
Rajesh Gadgil
Kolkata Debraj Dutta
Hon. Equipment Officer Rajendrakumar Mahajan
Hon. Asst. Equipment Officer
Kolkata Subhashis Roy
Hon. Asst. Treasurer
Kolkata Debraj Dutta
Web Master Rajan Rikame
E-Letter Team Rajesh Gadgil,
Nandini Purandare,
Freny Manecksha,
V. K. Sashindran
E-Group Moderator Cdr. K. B. Singh
Divyesh Muni
Patrons of The Himalayan Club
Chief of Army Staff
Anil Ambani
Niraj Bajaj
Adi Godrej
Jamsheyd Godrej
Naveen Jindal
Anand Mahendra
Vijay Mallya
Pawan Munjal
Kunj Trivedi
Honorary Members of the Himalayan Club
Bill Aitken
Yuichi Matsuda
Aamir Ali
A.D. Moddie
Eric Bernhardt
Tamotsu Nakamura
Sir Christian Bonington, C.B.E.
Col. F.E. Nangle
T.H. Braham
J. Nyka
Kurt Diemberger
Yoshio Ogata
K. K. Guha
Thomas Hornbein
Hiroyoshi Otsuka
Maurice Herzog
Robert Pettigrew
Sadshige Inada
Gulab Ramchandani
Capt. M.S. Kohli
Doug Scott
Dorjee Lhatoo
Gurdial Singh
Lt. Col. H.R.A., Streather, O.B.E.
Ian McNaught-Davis
Stephen Venables
Bernadette McDonald



Major Expeditions to the Indian Himalaya in 2011

Harish Kapadia

Of a total of 40 foreign expeditions, 21 expeditions were to easy and routine peaks. Of 57 Indian expeditions about 1/3 were serious peaks or attempts to be covered here. Not unexpectedly no Indian team, except from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, climbed in Uttarakhand as the local rules demand payment of fees from the Indian teams also.

The pride of place in the climbing world for 2011 would go to the first ascent of Saser Kangri II, led by Mark Richey of USA. It was a bold line and done in fine style. Steven Swenson on their team almost lost his life.

After decades peaks in Kishtwar area were climbed. It was closed due to political reasons. Hopefully this is a new beginning for this area with vast potential.

Many small expeditions made exploratory forays into new valleys and climbed small but challenging peaks in areas near Kang la, in the Pangong range and in the Kullu valley. An exploratory trek to the Girthi ganga valley in Uttarakhand was undertaken. While in the farthest eastern corner of the range a team explored a route leading to the border with Burma.



Zemu Gap (5861 m)

Zemu Gap stands out as a sharp V shaped notch on the eastern continuity of Kangchenjunga before it links up with Simvu. While there have been several ascents including a complete crossing of the Zemu Gap from the north, there remained an uncertainty as to whether this cleft had been effectively ascended from the southern approach.

Anindya Mukherjee was inspired to attempt the crossing this col from south, in the prime of winter. This area was visited after a long time but had historic significance with visits by Bill Tilman and John Hunt.

Anindya with Thendup Sherpa approached the Zemu Gap by descending from Guicha la to Tongshoyung valley and traversed a dangerous icefall, in December 2011.

(Article, HJ Vol. 68)



Arwa Spire (6193 m)

Team: Swiss
Leader (Members): Roger Schaeli (3)

The team attempted the steep Arwa Spire via the north face in May. All four members reached 5700 m. Due to bad weather they could not proceed further.

Meru (6450 m)

Team: American
Leader (Members): Conrad Anker (2)

A three member American team climbed Meru ‘Shark’s Fin’ in the Gangotri glacier area. They used almost 50 kg of hardware, 30 kg of food on the route. They spent 11 nights in bivouacs on the climb. The leader with Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk reached the summit on 2 October.

(Note, HJ Vol. 68)


Shivling (6543 m)

Team: British-Australian
Leader (Members): Simon Yates (4)

The team attempted the traditional route on this sharp peak. They reached 6000 m but many dangerous avalanches falling on the route forced them to give up the climb in early October.


Rajrambha (6539 m)

Team: Indo-Tibet Border Police, India
Leader (Members): Vishal Anand (18)

This peak stands near the Panch Chuli group of peaks. After establishing a base and advance base camp they made two more camps. Following the east ridge eight persons reached on 13 June and another 10 persons on the 14th.


Bhartekhunta (6578 m)

Team: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Leader (Members): Ms Kavita Burathoki (6)

The team proceeded from the Gangotri glacier, Gaumukh to make a base camp at Khada Pathar on left bank of the glacier. Next two camps took them to the foot of the east face of Kirti Stambh.

Starting at midnight on 29 May, they climbed the east slopes of Bhartekhunta. The summit was reached in six hours. The leader, Soni Shah, Shanti Rai, Pooja Jangam, Ribanish Rympei reached the top with guides Chandra Bahadur and Pratham Singh Powar.


Nilkanth (6597 m)

Team: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Leader (Members): Ram Singh Salthia (7)

The peak was attempted from the west face, from the Khirao ganga. They reached 5320 m when heavy snowfall stopped their progress.


Changuch (6322 m)

Team: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Leader (Members): Dhruv Joshi (7)

The team followed the same route as done by Martin Moran’s team during their first ascent. From the Pindari glacier they made Camp 1 at 5380 m, Camp 2 at 5755 m on col with Chhota Changuch. Five members reached summit on 11 June. They were leader, Dr. Andan Vaidhya, K. W. Lynddoh, Bharat Bhushan, Takpa Norboo, Chetan Pandey and Harish Kumar.

(Article, HJ Vol. 67)


Nanda Bhannar (6236 m)

Team: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Leader (Members): Dr Anil Gurtoo (3)

The team made steady progress climbing from the Kafni glacier. Camp 2 was set up at 5800 m in the upper Kafni icefall. At this camp one member developed high altitude sickness and the team had to carry him down 200 m urgently. The ascent was given up on 22 June due to the rescue.


Kharcha Kund (6632 m)

Team: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Leader (Members): Ashish Kr. Singh (6)

The team attempted the peak rather early in the season, in May. They attempted the north ridge which was too steep and snow bound. A huge avalanche engulfed their camp leading to loss of equipment. Bad weather continued and the climb was given up on 19 May.


Gangotri III (6577 m)

Team: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Leader (Members): Debabrata Mukherjee (3)

Despite poor weather this team made several attempts to climb the summit. On 16 June the attempt was stopped at about 6370 m, due to bad weather.

Next day, 17 June 2011 leader with Subid Ali and Himadri Nandi reached about 6560 m on the summit ridge. They stopped there, about 15 m short of the peak as there was a dangerous cornice and it looked threatening to fall down any time.


Exploring Girthi Ganga

A team led by Ashutosh Mishra made pioneering explorations in the Girthi ganga valley, Uttarakhand. Girthi is a tributary of Rishi ganga (draining Nanda Devi glaciers) and joins Alaknanda river. Girthi forms a narrow and formidable gorge in middle sections and is difficult to trek. Moreover it is near the China border and therefore difficult to obtain permissions.

In last few decades Girthi gorge was explored by the Scottish Himalayan expedition in 1950 (Bill Murray and three others) and the route was followed in 1986 by a team from Mumbai (Harish Kapadia). The gorge is fed by several streams and valleys from both sides, each leading to small valleys, containing unknown peaks.

Facing administrative and route difficulties the team proceeded slowly to reach the head of the valley. It visited Unta Dhura pass leading to Milam. Then Jainti dhura pass and Khingar la (both near the border) was reached, possibly making them the first civilians to reach there after restrictions were enforced. This team displayed all the characteristics and pleasures of the early explorers.

(Article, HJ Vol. 68)



‘Chemma Peak’ (6105 m)

Team: Japanese
Leader (Members): Hoshi Kazuo (4)

A team of seniors from Japan made the first ascent of this peak on 9 July 2011. The peak is situated at head of the Karcha nala, Lahaul and on border with Spiti. They established two camps from base and climbed the northeast face. The leader with Tanabe Motoyoshi, Ishuii Httoshi, Shinbora Yutaka, Kuze Katsumi and LO D. Gajendra reached the summit.

(Note, HJ Vol. 67)


Deo Tibba (6001)

  1. Team: French
    Leader: Jerome Guggisberg and L. Rayssac

    A two-member team ascended the east face of this peak situated in near Manali, Himachal Pradesh. They reached the summit on 29 April. Two French members with Konchok Thinless, Sakalzeng Rigzin, Eagan Thakur and Virendra Singh reached the summit.

  2. Team: Travellers’ Guild, West Bengal
    Leader (Members): Prosenjit Samanta (10)

    The team made two camps and followed the route over the Norbu peak. Five members reached the summit on 9 June.


Peaks in Kang la Area

Team: British
Leader (Members): Jonathan Paul Moodie (6)

A strong British team climbed several peaks in valleys east and northeast of Kang la in Reru valley.

  1. ‘Lama Jimba Kangri’ (6276 m). This was the highest peak climbed by them by the west face. Traversing to the east gully summit was reached on 6 September by the leader, Dr Kamal Masania, Dominique Southgate, Jonathan Bull, Virgil Scott, Robin Jones, Joe Prinold and Sgt. Anupam Mukherjee (LO)
  2. Peak 5405 m via northwest face was climbed on 10 September by four members.
  3. ‘Mose Kangri’ (5930 m). Three members reached the summit on 11 September.
  4. Peak 5985 m climbed via north face. Two members reached the summit on 15 September.


Peaks 6160 m and 6181 m (Himachal Pradesh); near Parang la, Spiti

Team: Japanese
Leader (members): Kiyoshi Ishii (5)

  1. Peak 6160 m was climbed on 7 August via the southwest face. Summit was reached by Yudai Satou with Jay Prakash Rai.
  2. Peak 6181 m was climbed on 9 August by east face by nine members. Summiters; leader, Kiyoshi Ishii, Toshihiko Kawauma, Chikako Kimura, Akira Asakura and Yudai Satou (all Japanese). Jay Prakash Rai, Angfuri Lama, Prakash Chanel and Yaduram Sharma (LO) (all Indians).


Devachan (6187 m)

Team: Himalaya’s Beckon, Kolkata, India
Leader (Members): Arupam Das (10)

The peak stands on the Tos nala, Kullu Himalaya. This large team made three camps and crossed the col with Papsura. They followed the south ridge to the summit on 3 August. The summit was reached by Dipankar Sen, Sudip Roy and Arupam Das (leader).


Unnamed Peak 6015 m

Team: Mitrapara Youth Mountaineers & Culture Association, W.B., India
Leader (Members): Samir Sengupta (10)

This peak in Lahaul stands near to KR-II(6187 m) and KR-IV(6340 m), the original aim of this expedition. However the team could not attempt them. Pk 6015 m was climbed on 4 August by the leader, Sandip Roy and Nirmalaya Ghosh.


CB 12 (6248 m)

Team: Pimpri Chinchwad Mountaineering Association, Pune, India
Leader (Members): Arjun Pethkar (9)

This is the high peak in the Chandra Bhaga group of the Lahaul Himalaya. They have been popular due to easier access. The team established an advanced base camp and Camp 1. Starting from the last camp at 2 a.m. the leader and five members with two Sherpas reached the summit at 6 a.m. on 6 August.


KR-V (6258 m)

Team: Summiter, Kolkata, India
Leader (Members): Aloke Kr Das (10)

The Koa Rong nala in Lahaul contains several peaks, including this high peak. The team made a camp on the west of the peak, at 6225 m. On 22 August six members and two Sherpas reached the summit in 40 minutes. They found a cairn on the summit.


Dawa Kangri (6140 m) and Lagbhorche (6000 m)

Team: Rifle Factory Sports Council, Kolkata, India
Leader (Members): Ashim Ghosh (10)

These peaks stand on the Loser nala, on the border between Lahaul and Spiti. They do not receive many teams. After setting up two camps Lagbhorche was climbed by four persons with two high altitude supporters.

Later Dawa Kangri was climbed by the leader with Tapas Dey, Radheshyam Halder, Paramesh Chatterjee with two high altitude supporters. The summit was reached on 27 August.



Mari (6585 m)

Team: Japanese
Leader (Members): Masato Oki (4)

This was a team of seniors from Japan. Leader was aged 77 and other members were between 60 to 69 years. They climbed this high peak situated in the Pangong range of Ladakh. They followed the south face to southeast ridge to make the ascent. The summit was reached by K. Ouchi, Norio Katayanagi, Isamu Kezuka and Dawa Sherpa.

(Note, HJ Vol. 67)


Peaks in Ladakh-Kishtwar

Team: Swiss
Leader (Members): Stephan Schaffter (10)

This large team climbed in the Kishtwar area. This beautiful area with many peaks has not been visited for several years due to political troubles. Climbed in smaller groups and alpine-style. Following peaks were climbed by them:

  1. Red Apple peak (6070 m) on 17 August by six members: Leader, Fred Duraz, Gregory Triollet, Jiri Minar, Laurence Marie-Gabrielle Di Florio and Oliver Messerli.
  2. Gocook peak (6050 m) was climbed on 21 August. They followed the northwest ridge. Summit was reached by leader with Marc Roullier and Sebastian Colsonet.
  3. Unnamed Peak 6050 m was climbed by the south face to southeast ridge to the summit. Four persons reached top; Fred Duraz, Oliver Messerli, Passang Lama and Golkal Chontel (cook).

(Note, HJ Vol. 68)


Cerro Kishtwar (6155 m) – White Sapphire (6040 m)

Team: Swiss-Austrian-USA
Leader (Members): Stephen Siegrist (3)

A small experienced team made two first ascents in the Kishtwar area. No bolts were used and both the summits were climbed in alpine- style.

  1. Cerro Kishtwar. (6155 m) The first ascent of its south summit was made by northwest face and south ridge to the main summit. Then they followed the east ridge to the north summit (second ascent). They named this route as ‘Yoniverse’. Summits were reached between 25 to 29 September. Route was 1200 m and they made 26 abseils on return. The leader, David Lama, Denis Burdet and Robert Frost reached the summit.
  2. ‘White Sapphire’ (6040 m). The first ascent of this shapely peak near Cerro Kishtwar was made by leader and Denis Burdet in a two- day climb on 4-5 October. They climbed the west face to north summit (5080 m) to the main south summit at 6040 m. It was 850 m climb and 11 rappels were made to return. They named the route as ‘la viree des Contemporains’.

(Note, HJ Vol. 68)



Saser Kangri II (7518 m) and other peaks

Team: Indo-American (11)
Leaders: Mark Richey and Motup Goba

Steve Swenson, Mark Richey, and Freddie Wilkinson made the first ascent of Saser Kangri II, the second-highest unclimbed mountain in the world, 7518 m (24,665 ft). The team began their ascent from an advance base camp at 5800 m on the South Shukpa Kunchang glacier on 21 August and summited on 24 August, and returned to ABC the next day. Their five-day, continuous-push ascent and descent of the mountain’s southwest face, without pre-established camps or fixed ropes, is one of history’s highest first ascents to be accomplished in alpine style.

Although the technical difficulties on the 1700 m face went smoothly, the team confronted an unexpected medical emergency when a sinus infection suffered by Swenson worsened into a serious respiratory problem just after reaching ABC. Steve’s condition was serious as he coughed up large, glue-like clumps of phlegm that would block his airway periodically, preventing him from breathing. Using SAT phone they initiated a rescue effort through Global Rescue, the American Alpine Club, the American Embassy in Delhi, and their agent.

Finally at around 4 p.m., as worsening weather threatened to cancel the rescue, clouds lifted and two Lama helicopters, flying low over the mountains, appeared above the glacier. Swenson was evacuated from ABC on 26 August to a hospital in Leh where he recovered quickly in a few days. Despite the scare, the team was ecstatic about the quality of the adventure.


Other First Ascents

Additionally, the team, which included Emilie Drinkwater, Kirstin Kramer, and Janet Bergman, made the first ascents of four other unclimbed 6000 m mountains in the region.

Tsok Kangri, 6585 m. First ascent, via the north face, WI4+, 680 meters. 31 July by Richey, Swenson, Wilkinson.

Saserling (6100 m) First Ascent, via the south face. 5.9+, 8 pitches, 350 m, 6 August, by Bergman and Wilkinson and Pumo Kangri (6250 m). First ascent, via west face, WI3, 450 m. 5 August by Drinkwater and Kremer.

Janet and Freddie’s route on Saserling was another classic climb, 8 pitches of stellar rock climbing with excellent rock quality and challenging climbing on every pitch. Pumo Kangri, which means ‘Lady mountain’ in Ladakhi looked like a giant snow plod at first but turned out to be sustained low-angle ice for the entire climb. Emilie and Kirsten carried only one ice screw but nonetheless pushed on to the summit climbing mainly without belays. The descent however required rappelling and with only one screw to cut v-threads and belay the process took them all night! They arrived at ABC the next morning after a 29-hour continuous push, passing Janet and Freddie on their way up to climb Saserling!

Stegasaurus (6660 m) First Ascent, via the south glacier to south ridge. Steep snow climbing and ridge traverse. 9 August by Bergman, Drinkwater, Kremer, Richey, and Wilkinson. They named this peak ‘Stegasaurus’ since the line of rock towers leading up the ridge reminded them of the dinosaur.

Indian team members

Chewang Motup, Co-leader; Raj Kumar, liaison officer, Konchok Thinlese (Sirdar), Pemba Sherpa (aka King Kong), Dan Singh Harkotia, Jangla Tashi Phunchok, and Tshering Sherpa.

Mark Richey
(Article, HJ Vol. 67)


Peak 6130 m (Arganglas valley)

Team: Indian-British
Leaders (members): Skalzang Rigzin (Indian) and Guillaume Francois (French)

A large expedition visited the remote Arganglas valley in the Nubra valley. However due to weather, (in July) logistics and illness they could not make much headway and the attempt was given up early.


Peak 6017 m (near Mamostong Kangri)

Team: Indian-Spanish
Leaders (members): Kusang Sherpa (Indian) and Jonas Fernandez Cruces (Spanish)

The team had permission to attempt the high Mamostong Kangri (7516 m). After two camps they reached the Mamostong Col (5807 m) but weather (in mid-August) was deemed not suitable to attempt the summit.

The team then climbed a nearby peak of 6017 m through a central couloir of the west face. They named the peak as ‘Junai Kangri’.


Saser Kangri IV (7416 m)

Team: Indian, The Himalayan Club Kolkata Section Leader: P. C. Sahoo (10)

The team travelled to the Nubra valley in Ladakh and established a base camp on the South Phukpoche glacier. After the initial ferries to establish two camps bad weather stopped their progress to attempt Saser Kangri I.

On the 6 August, six climbers started moving up from C3, traversing the icefield that led steeply to the col, while a team of Sherpas who had already opened C4, moved up the upper face of SK IV and fixed two coils of rope on it.

On 6 August, Phurba Sherpa reached the summit of SK IV, climbing solo. On 9 August, after setting up C4, Debraj Dutta and Ang Dorjay Sherpa, Meghlal Mahato and Mingma Thendu Sherpa summitted Saser IV in two parties.

Members: Pradeep Sahoo, (leader), Debraj Dutta (deputy leader), Meghlal Mahato, Kakali Ghosh, Binita Soren, Sheelarani Mahato, Subrata Dey, Biplab Banerjee, Debabrata Ghosh, and Rajeev Kr Mondal.

(Note, HJ Vol. 67)



Exploring Lapti Valley near Burma

In October-November 2011, Dinesh, Nandini and Uttara Purandare, Atul Rawal and I trekked to the eastern most part of India in the Lapti valley, Arunachal Pradesh. We reached within 5 km of the India- Burma border when heavy snowfall stopped us. The trail is located in the Anjaw District (on the Lohit river) and is near the Rima-Kahao border with China. Hawai is the new District Headquarters. If the sea and local dances grace the well known Hawaii (USA) in the Pacific, here at the Hawai, mountain scenery matches the beauty of sea and traditional people and their dances are no less attractive.

This area, along with the plateau above Walong, is the ‘Burma Hump’. During the World War II several planes crashed on this plateau as old aircrafts could not gain height and malfunctioned at the altitude. Remains of many planes lie scattered but now any parts are taken out by search parties and locals.

Ours was a beautiful exploratory trek. We turned into the Lati river valley from Hawai and bifurcated to its tributary, the Lapti from village Kamlat. The trek was strenuous and the route was always steep. But the forest and being on a remote trail to Burma was an inspiration. Beauty of the forest in autumn colours made camping grounds of Tafam and Kushok almost a paradise. The trail led us to the foot of Hoot pass which crosses into Myanmar and in few days would have lead us to Fort Hertz. F. Kingdon Ward has written about the Lohit valley and the book The Icy Mountains of Burma, cover these mountains on the border. We observed a few of these peaks on our way back. We came across two villages almost a generation behind - what we call progress has not reached them yet. No trekkers seems to have come here though we heard some rumours of a party trekking here before. People of the Burmese origin cross the Hoot Pass (3570 m) into India to collect herbal plants every year. Overall communities across the borders interact peacefully even today.

On the way back I fell almost 150 feet, on loose wet gravel covered by shrubs/bushes. I just could not hold on to the bushes, falling head first, and gathering speed, passed over one slab after the other - all were downward sloping luckily. I came to a halt on a small grassy patch and finally rolled over gently on a crop of huge rocks. It would have been a different ending if I had reached these rocks even at a little speed! Though I was bleeding profusely through the nose and was covered with scratches all over the body, except one sharp hit on my right hip I was saved. Dinesh Purandare reached me in a flash with other porters, and I could get on my feet in about half an hour. I climbed up the steep slope to reach the main trail and then with help of sturdy Mishmi porters walked down to camp in a painful four hour trek. Next day I walked down to the roadhead from where a taxi took me to the Hawai rest house. A day of rest, two days of a rough car journey, a night in a train and a five hour flight followed to reach home!

These areas are wonderful, not visited by trekkers and has some of the finest virgin rain forest, leading to the Alpine forest with pines in the upper reaches. The high altitudes lakes are an attraction. It offers most exhilarating experience and - not everyone has to have a fall!

(Harish Kapadia)

(I am grateful to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Lindsay Griffin, Rajesh Gadgil and several individual contributors, as mentioned, for the information)


Other News

Jagdish Nanavati, who was President Emeritus of the Himalayan club, passed away in 2011. Two awards have been instituted in his memory by the Club in association with his family. The first award, a certificate and generous cash grant, is for an expedition which is well organised, conducted and the final report is well presented. This process was more dear to Nanavati’s heart, than any climbing achievement. The first award was won by Anindya Mukherjee for his expedition to reach the Zemu Gap in Sikkim. The Jury consisted of Lindsay Griffin, Chairman, Admiral V. Shekhawat, (retd) and Dorjee Lhatoo.

The ‘Garud Medal’ is to be awarded a person who has supported an expedition or exploration well. This is a Life time achievement award. The first medal was awarded to Harsinh Harkotia, a simple villager from Kumaun who has supported expeditions of Sir Chris Bonington, Harish Kapadia, Mark Richey and many others. He was instrumental in the rescue of Stephen Venables on Panch Chuli in 1992.

The ‘Tensing Norgay Adventure Award’, was presented to Mandip Singh Soin (Life time achievement) and Col. Anand Swaroop, both well-known climbers. The first Joss Lynam medal (Ireland) was received by Harish Kapadia. The Kekoo Naoriji Book Award for literature was received by Canadian author Bernadette MacDonald at Mumbai for her book Freedom Climbers. She gave a fitting presentation on the book at the award ceremony.

Some well known climbers died during the year. Nawang Topgay Sherpa passed away at Darjeeling. He had a long climbing career and was awarded ‘Tiger Badge’ by the Himalayan Club. As an instructor he taught many Indian mountaineers. News has reached that Nanda Singh Chauhan, passed away on 8 March 2008. He was companion to Frank Smythe during his trips to Valley of Flowers and carried botanical samples for onward despatch to Edinburg.

Roger Payne, who died in an avalanche while guiding in the Alps, was instrumental in helping the state of Sikkim is implementing various policies for environment protection and adventure. He with his wife Julie-Ann Clyma, made several outstanding ascents in the Indian Himalaya. The British mountaineer, Richard Isherwood, known as Dick to many, was one of the early explorer of ranges in Kullu and his first ascent of South Parvati peak was a major ascent as the peak had defied many teams. He passed away in the US to where he had migrated.

Many Indians have now settled in the USA, UK and Europe, colloquially known as NRIs (Non Resident Indians - a term for tax purposes!). Now returning to India for a holiday as US/UK citizens, well equipped and trained in modern methods, they have been climbing several serious routes on smaller peaks, especially in the Zanskar area which suits their holiday months. This had led to improvements in climbing skills of Indian climbing friends who join them. One such couple also made several treks and climbs in the northern areas of Pakistan, which is otherwise banned to the Indian citizens.

A small film of the Siachen Glacier, made for the Indian army, was released on You-Tube. In brief in covers the genesis of the conflict, mountains and future of the area. It can be viewed at the following link: [ ]



The Himalayan Club Obituary:

Sir Peck, Edward G.C.M.G. Member 1950
Mr. Wales, N. V. A. Life Member 1974
Mr. Plowden-Wardlaw, R. P. Life Member 1963
Dr. Gansser, Augusto Life Member 1936
Mr. Bonython, C. W. Member 1972
Mr. Spitzer, V. D. Life Member 1977
Lt. Col. Griffith, R. Life Member 1945
Blass, Heinrich Life Member 1952


As usual it was an active year, with many Sectional Meetings at Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and London. The Himalayan Journal Vol. 67 was published in March 2012. Three E-Letters were published: No. 23 (January 2012), No. 24 (June 2012) and No. 25 (October 2012).

The Grindlays Bank Mountain Scholarships were awarded to various trainees. Many new books were added to the library. The 5th Himalayan Club Kekoo Naoroji Book Award (2010-11) for Himalayan Literature was presented on 26 October 2012, in Mumbai, to Graham Bowley for his book No Way Down – Life and Death on K2.

The Club membership continues to grow beyond 1000 members spread over various parts of the world and consisting of many leading mountaineers. The membership is open to all who are interested in any aspects of the Himalaya and are qualified to be members.

(Full details of the club activities in 2011-2012 and the activities organised by the Himalayan Club and at its sections are available on the website:, and relevant E-Letters)


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Printed in India by Parkar Arts, 1st floor, India Printing House, G.D. Ambekar Road, Wadala, Mumbai 400 031, Designed by Reflections and published by Nandini Purandare, Hon. Secretary for the Himalayan Club, 314, Turf Estate, Shakti Mills Lane, off E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai 400 011, India.

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