Indian Himalaya: Climbing and Other News - 1992


Harish Kapadia

Again a very active year, despite last year’s earthquake and political uncertainties. The good news is some areas currently prohibited to foreigners, e.g. Milam valley (Kumaon), Nilkanth and Mana (Gangotri) and Kinnaur and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) are likely to open up. Unfortunately peak fees are likely to start from $3000. Better check your budget; with the recent inflation in India things are more expensive than before. But like any difficult peak such mundane matters are not going to stop a mountaineer.

Sikkim Chombu (6362m) A Japanese team led by Kenshiro Otaki was the first foreign expedition allowed to climb in North Sikkim for many decades (Kangchenjunga excepted). They reached a high point of 5900m on 29 October.

Kumaon - Garhwal - Gangotri Indian British Panch Chuli Expedition 1992. Six Indian and Six British mountaineers climbed in the Balati and Pyunshani valleys, east of Munsiary in the pithoragarh District, U.P., in May and June 1992. This was the first time that Panch Chuli had been approached form the west by the Balati valley for 20 years. The expedition was the first to explore the Pyunshani valley.

Seven peaks were climbed over a period of forty days with altogether twelve team members reaching summits.

Panch Chuli Ii (6924m) was climbed by a new route - the W spur - and its SW ridge was climbed 19 years after the first ascent. The first ascent of Panch Chuli V (6437m), a particularly challenging peak, and Sahadev East (5750m) were achieved. Rajrambha (6537m), which has had one ascent from the north, was traversed by its E ridge over Menaka peak (6000m) and then down its W ridge and face in a five day alpine-style push. The Panchali glacier was explored and the southern valleys of the Bainti and Rula glaciers were observed.

Peaks climbed in the Pyunshani valley were Draupadi (5250m), Panchali Chuli (5220m) and Panch Chuli V (6437m), all first ascents. Vijay Kothari was air-lifted by helicopter from the glacier after surviving a fall. Stephen Vanable miraculously survived an abseil anchor failure on Panch Chuli V, and after tense days a helicopter rescued him.

The expedition was led by Chris Bonington and Harish Kapadia. (Full details in articles ‘Indian British Panch Chuli Expedition 1992’ and ‘Panch Chuli V’ in this volume.)

Saraswati (6940m) This peak lies on the Indo-Tibet border, rising form the Saraswati valley, above Badrinath. It is situated south of Balbala (6416m) near Mana pass and north of Kamet. It was climbed by an Indo-Japanese ladies expedition led by Inspector (Ms) Santosh Yadav and Mrs Reiko Terasawa and the party named the peak after the river valley.

The approached from Badrinath along the Saraswati valley. Turining east on the Balbala glacier they reached the Schlagintweit pass (Schlagintweit ahd crossed from here to Tibet to approach Abi Gamin in 1855) and climbed the Sridge. No others party had reached the pass since.

Mana Northwest (7092m) This is an unclimbed peak on the NW shoulder of Mana, leading to Kamet. A four-member teams from Bombay, led by Arun P Samant, attempted it from the eastern approaches via the Purbi Kamet glacier, reaching 6900m.

Peak 6687m situated to the north was climbed by Suhas Kharde and Jagat Singh on 25 June. They established five camps up to 6450m. Uja Tirche (6202m) Bad weather and unseasonal heavy snowfall defeated a three-member team form Bombay, led by Vinay Hegde, on this peak in July.

Mana (7272M) A 19-member Indian Army (Army Ordnance Corps) team from Secundrabad, led by Capt S P Malik, climbed this peak on 19 June. They approached from the Nagthuni glacier in the east and above Gupta Khal. The team was involved in an avalanche on 11 June and the injured members had to be evacuated. Earlier they climbed an unnamed 5730m peak (‘Shakti Parbat’) rising from Gupta Khal.

Kedardome (6831m) An Indian team led by Sachin Karato climbed this peak on 2 June.

Thalay Sagar (6904m) A seven-member British team established Base Camp on 10 May and climbed the spectacular S face on 6 June. Keith Milne (leader) and Tom Prentice reached the summit.

Rudugaira (5364m) Susan Grimley, Tom prentice and Gordon Scott, form the above expedition, climbed the N ridge.

Thalay Sagar Hiroshi Kawasakin and Kimihiro Kumaga (Japan) attempted the W ridge. Camp 1 was placed at 5500m on 20 July, but the monsoon enhanced the danger of avalanche and they abandoned the attempt. Alfonso ?Vizan and Carlos Suarez (Spain) reached 6450m on the N face, descending due to avalanche condition and the lack of a bivouac site.

Swargarohini I (6252) Nick Banks and Chris Smith made unsuccessful attempts on this peak from the north during May. A three man Spanish team, led by Jovier D carrento, attempted the E ridge. They were beaten by bad weather and abandoned their attempt on 20 August.

Trisul (7120m) Arthur B ferguson, Robert Wade and Griff smith (USA) attempted the W face, setting up Base Camp on 14 June and Advanced Base Camp on 20 June. A long spell of bad weather prevented them from making much progress beyond this until July.

Panwali Dwar (6663m) A Korean expedition failed on this peak due to bad weather and stove failure. The team, led by Her Tai Han, made their last camp (C3 ) at 6150m.

Satopanth (7075m) Three Indian teams repeated the first ascent route (the NE ridge) - climbed by Andre Roch’s team in 1947. The leaders were Prasad S Dhamal, Ms Chandraprabha Aitwal and Dr Salin Hu.

Chaukhamba I (7138m) Col Amit C Roy (Crops of Signals, Indian Army) led asuccessful expedition from the north-east. Fifteen members reached the summit.

Bhagirathi III (6456m) Seven Czechs, led by Dr Miroslav Coubal, attempted a new route on the W wall. Their high point was 5800m (5 September).

Draupadi-Ka-Danda(6038m) An 11 member Japanese team climbed this peak in the Uttarkashi area. All members reached the summit in the period 10-16 August. Takamoto Nobuko (51) was killed in a rockfall near near Bhuki while returning.

Pt 6193 (near the Bhagirathi group) A Yugoslav expedition attempted the W face of this shapely peak on the Gangotri glacier. Januz kejuot (leader), Maipin Kouoe and Ive Yeroz reached c6000m, but bad weather did not allow them to reach the summit.

Shivling (6543) An eight-member French team, led by J P Franchon, climbed the W ridge on 3 September.

Bharte Khunta (6578m) An Indian team from Delhi reached 6450m on this peak. They approached from the Gangotri glacier and were led by R D Bhattacharjee.

Manda III (6529m) Britons lan Read, Andrew Cunningham, Richard Mansfield and Gary Murray climbed the SE face and the S ridge on 22 September.

Pt 6014m (near Manda) A four-member British team attempted the E face. James McElwaire reached the summit solo on 18 September. They had earlier attempted Jogin III unsuccessfully.

Gangotri I (6672m) Martin Moran’s 13-member team were stopped at 6500m due to avalanche danger.

Yogeshwar (6678m) Britons Steven Adderley, Malcolm Bass, Julian Clamp and Simon Yearsley made the secondascent, climbing the S face to the SE ridge.

Pt 6193m (Gangotri glacier) A four-man Czech team led by Janez Kesnar failed on the W face.

Nilkanth (6596m) In October Graham Little’s four-man Scottish team reached 5600m on the SE ridge, the col between the third and fourth pinnacles. They gave up ‘due to considerable commitment involved on the long, technical and dangerous climb’.

Maiktoil (6803m) An inexperienced Indian team attempted this peak from the south. An avalanche killed four members at Advanced Base Camp.

Bhagirathi III (6454m) Mark Gunlogson and Micha Miller climbed the Scottish route in 9 days from 23 September. It gave 30 pitches of granite and 500m of ice.

Nandabhannar (6236m), Nandakhani (6029m) and Shallang Dhura (5678m) A Bombay team led by Divyesh Muni climbed these peaks around the Kumaon pass crossed by Ruttledge’s porters in 1926.

Himachal Pradesh M10 (5730m) The ‘Paramount Trekkers’ expedition from Bombay, led by Dhiren Pania, climbed this peak rising above the Milang glacier. They had earlier attempted Mulkilla (M4, 6517m) and M5 (6370). Both attempts were given up at about 5800m owing to crevasses and cornices.

Hanuman Tibba (5928m) A three-member Japanese expedition led by Takash Omosu failed to climb the W ridge.

CB 51 (height not supplied) A nine-member Italian team led by Giorgio Mallucci approached from the Samunder Tapu glacier and attempted the S ridge. The attempt was abandoned at 6100m after an avalanche.

CB14 (6078m) A five-member Japanese team led by K Okano reached 5880m on 15 August. The NE ridge, which they were attempting, was too hard, with exposed ice.

Dharamsura (6446m) A four-member Japanese team led by Zenkosuke Sakurazawa approached from Manikaran (Kulu) in July, Monsoon weather stopped them at about 5800m.

A five-member team, also from Japan, approached from the Bara Shigri glacier in lahul. They climbed the SE ridge on 15 August. Jum Katori was the leader.

Pt 6225m (on the Bara Shigri glacier) Christopher Cheesman, James Winspear and Richard mason (UK) attempted this peak rising south of the Chandra river in Lahul. A serac collapsed on their route and the final summit attempt was stopped at 6000m.

Kishtwar - Zanskar - Ladakh Tupendo I (5700m) A British team met with an accident on this peak in the eastern Kishtwar. Jonathan Bamber was hit by a rock and broke his led badly on 3 September. After two attempts a helicopter rescued him on 9 September. The seven-member team was led by David Mortimer and had at first intended to attempt Mardi Phabrang.

Matho Kangri I (6090m) Seven members of this British expedition reached the summit in August. They were Michael Ratty (leader), John Shelly, Alan Rowland, Trevor Willing, Deepak Jhalani (Liaison officer), Dorje Chatta and Phunchok Tanglas (high altitude porters).

Z3 (6270m) A nine-member team led by Sergio Maturi climbed the NW ridge on 16 August.

Nun (7135m) Four Italians led by Roberto Salavati attempted this peak in late August.

Kun (7086m) A ten-member French expedition led by Albert Philippe climbed the peak by the E ridge.

Kang Yissay (6400m) Carl Moore’s seven-member American team climbed the N face on 15 September.

Eastern Karakoram Mamostong Kangri (7516m) This high peak continues to attract climbing teams. An Indian ladies team (all members of a pre-Everest expedition sponsored by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation - training for the 1993 Indo-Nepal Women’s expedition to Everest) climbed the normal route from the Mamostong glacier. Fifteen climbers were successful in three groups. They left Delhi on 30 June, set up base camps on 24 July and all summited on 15 August.

Team Kangri (7382m) This high peak near the Junction of the Teram Shehr and Siachen glaciers was climbed by an Indian Army team led by Col M S Gill.