Indian Himalaya: Climbing and Other News - 1993

Harish Kapadia

This was an active year in the Indian Himalaya, though a heavy storm in August troubled many expeditions. The Government of India has shifted the ‘inner line’, opening up many new areas for mountaineers. The major new areas opened up are in Kinnaur and Spiti, where the entire area west of the road is now approachable. This includes many good climbing areas like Bara Shigri, Tos nala, Dibibokari and the Western Spiti glaciers. Other good news is that the Milam glacier is open with peaks like Hardeol (7151m), Tirsuli (7074m) and Chiring We (6559m) now approachable. All the peaks of the North Sanctuary Wall of Nanda Devi can also be approached from the Milam valley which is to its east. This approach has not been tried before and should provide some excellent climbs.

Arunachal pradesh also saw one foreign expedition this year, which is the forerunner of much good news to come, one hopes. The bad news is on the Sikkim front. The Government of Sikkim has decided to impose royalties on mountaineers, in addition to those to be paid to the IMF. Also two liaison officers, one each from the IMF and the Government of Sikkim, will have to be taken and provided for. The additional royalties are:

Kangchenjunga Us $20,000 Peaks above 800m $8, 000 Peaks 7501m - 8000m $3,000 Peaks 7001m - 7500m $2,000 Peaks 6501m - 7000m $1,500 Peaks below 6500m $1,000

Charges are double for virgin peaks. For Indians 50% of the fees must be payable in hard currency. Various other environmental’ fees have been levied, per day, for trekkers both from abroad and India and insistence has been made that Government agencies and travel agents are used. For the first time Indian mountaineers are to be charged in their own country. It is hoped that all Indian mountaineers and the international mountaineering community will protest against this policy to the IMF and the Government of Sikkim and India.

The IMF has elected a new President, Dr M S Gill, who is also India’s Election Commissioner. Hari Dang and Col Balwant Sandhu are the new Vice-Presidents with Sudhir Sahi as Hon Secretary. This new team will look into various aspects of climbing in the Indian Himalaya.

Reprints of old books can often be found in the book stores of India and gazetteers of Kashmir, Himachal and Garhwal are now available containing a wealth of information. High Himalaya Unknown Valleys by Harish Kapadia, Published in 1993, contains information on trekking and climbing in almost all parts of the Indian Himalaya.

Sikkim Kangchenunga (8586m) An 18-members Indo-Ukraine team climbed the NE spur route from E Sikkim in May. They were led by Prajapati Bodhone and Vadim Sivirdenko.

Twins (Gimmigela, 7350m) An attempt was made by a 15-man Japanese expeditions, led by Tsuguyasu Itami, in October. Their summit attempt stopped at 7000m when Masanori Sato was killed in a crevasse fall.

Pathibara (Pyramid peak, 7123m), Pathibara N (7100m) and Pathibara E (Sphinx, 6837m) An Indo-Japanese team, led by Harbhajan Singh (Indo-Tibet Border Police) and Yoshio Ogata (Himalayan Association of Japan), climbed these peaks in April. Neither Jill Neate’s High Asia nor H Adams Carter’s list make any mention of the N peak.

Kokthang (6147m) An Indian team led by Dilip Kolhatkar had the dubious distinction of becoming the first Indian expedition on run into trouble with the new Government of Sikkim rules. They were stopped at the local police check post and extra payment was demanded. The Sikkim authorities were apparently highly unco-operative and the expedition lost many valuable days before they could make any progress.

Garhwal Bhagirathi III (6454m) A six-member Czechoslovakian team led by Trefi Pavel climbed the SW Pillar route. Climbing in two-member teams they reached the summit on separate days in mid-August.

A four-member team from Czechoslovakia, led by Miroslav Coubla, stopped at 5800m in September owing to heavy snow.

Satopanth (7075m) A seven-member Japanese team summited on 16 August, via the icefall and N ridge. The leader was Shigeyoshi Kido. A nine member Norwegian team led by Jan Westby stopped at 6200m in September after heavy snow.

Shivling (6543m) Hans Kammerlander and Hainz Christoph (Swiss) climbed the N pillar on 31 May. A French expedition led by Yves Le Bissonnais ran into trouble on the W ridge at 5900m when Odile Loncle was killed in a fall from fixed ropes. John Dunlop and James Keily attempted the peak in late Novermber. An early winter storm deposited a lot of snow, forcing them to abandon their attempt.

Thalay Sagar (6904m) A Korean team, led by Choi Byung Soo, reached 6400m on the N face when bad weather in late June stopped them. A Spanish expedition, led by Jordi Sivila, was defeated by heavy snow in August.

Swargarohini I (6252m) A five-member swedish team led by Ake Nilsson climbed a new route up one of the rock ridges on the S face. They fixed rope on theprominent rock pinnacle in the central part of the face reach the easy snow ridge leading to the summit.

Meru S (6660m) A Spanish team led by Jose Luis Armaiz was defeated by bad weather in August.

Meru N (6450m) A four-member American team, led by Tom Kimbrell, attempted the E face, but stopped at 5800m. A British team consisting of five members and led by Noel Crane reached 6050m on the same face. They were defeated by three heavy storms in September after climbing pitches as hard as E5.

Manda II (6586m) A expedition from Crechoslovakia, led by Maroko Vervc, also suffered bad weather in August and had to give up.

Chaukhamba II (7068m) The first expedition even to attempt this peak was from Italy and led by Carlo Farina in August. They tried the W pillar, reaching 6200m and were stopped by the August storm. Alberto Tegiacchi fell and was killed when the fixed rope he was climbing was cut.

Chaturangi (6407m) Toshiko Ishino led a four-member Japanese team on the SW face. They stopped at 6200m on 29 August, finding snow conditions too dangerous.

Nilkanth (6596m) A multi-national army team (India, USA, UK, France and Italy) climbed a new route, gaining the NE ridge from the E face. Organised by Lt Col H S Chauhan (India) the team fixed rope almost unbroken from Base Camps to the summit and put 36 people on top.

Also attempting the NE ridge, six members of a Japanese expedition (leader Yuichi Sasaki, Kobayashi, Yoshinori Wakabayashi, haruo Takeno, Gen Masuda and Takeshi Namba) were killed in an avalanche. The one survivor made an epic retreat to report the tragedy.

The southern approaches still remainunclimbed and problematic Duncan Tunstall and Chris Pasteur (UK) attempted the SW ridge. One of them fell sick at 5400m, coughing blood, and could not recover so the expedition was abandoned - the perils of two-members teams.!

Trisul (7120m) E Radehose led a German team, climbing over the Ronti saddle from the west and reaching 6270m. The route’s difficulties forced them to give up on 21 October.

Kedar Dome (6831m) A French expedition led by Christain Dejax was forced to give up at 6640m by sickness and injury.

Lamchir (5662m) Eight members from an American National Outdoor Leadership School expedition reached the summit on 5 October.

Nanda Devi (7816m) After many years’ closure a large Indian Army Corps of Engineers expedition was permitted to climb form the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Led by Lt Col V K Batt they studied the scientific and ecological aspects of the Sanctuary’s closure. Five members summited.

Nanda Devi Sanctuary Recently the Government of India has insturcted the State Government of Uttar Pradesh to allow trekking parties to visit the Sanctuary. It is not clear whether climbing expeditions will be allowed. Full details are available from the Himalayan Club.

Nanda Devi E (7434m) Seven members of a team from the Border Security Force, India, led by S C Negi, summited on 5 October. They approached from the Milam valley, going over the Longstaff Col.

Matri (6721m) An Indain expedition led by N H Shelar established four camps up to 6100m, but failed on 17 October after bad weather.

Sri Kailash (6932m) An expedition led by basanta Singha Roy established seven camps and was successful on 20 September.

Gangotri II (6577m) Five members of an Indian expedition from Gujarat, led by Salil Joshi, climbed this peak on 30 May.

Kamet (7756) Four members of an Indian Armoured Corps team led by Capt S P Malik climbed this peak on 5 October.

Bandarpunch W (6102m) Indian teams led by Rajiv Midha (Haryana) and Amar Biswas climbed this peak on 5 June and 15 August respectively.

Ronti (5956m) An Expedition from Bengal climbed this peak on 29 September. They were led by Kani Bhattacharji.

Jogin I (6465m) and Jogin III (6116m) A Bengal expedition led by Animesh Bose climbed these peaks on 31 May and 4 June respectively.

Tirsuli (7074m) An Indian expedition from Bengal, led by Mrs Sarbani Chatterji, failed on this high peak on the Milam glacier.

Arunachal pradesh In November 1993, after closure of many years, a five-member Dutch expedition led by Ronald Naar was the first foreign party allowed to climb in this area. After many bureaucratic delays, they climbed pt 6300 near Gori Chen (6858m) , and photographed the unclimbed Kangto (7090m).

Himachal Pradesh Papsura (6440m) and Dharamsura (6420m) The Korean team led by Boseong Hong was stopped by avalanche danger. Revesed heights for both peaks are given.

Menthosa (6443m) Three parties from a Japanese expedition climbed this peak in mid-August. They were led by Tsuneo Suzuki.

Mulkila IV (6517) This peak was climbed by an Italian expedition led by Renzo Gemignani on 25 August.

CB II (6044m) Allen Armstrong’s ten-member British team attempted this peak from the north and reached 5925m in poor snow conditions.

Deo Tibba (6001m) A British expedition led Harpur william failed on this peak. A Indian expedition led by S Sudhakar was successful on 29 July. Four Members also climbed nearby Norbu.

KRI An Indian team climbed this peak on the Koa Rong glacier on 2 September. Leader P N Haldar and seven others reached the summit.

Chau Chau Kang Nilda II (6158m) An Indian team led by P K Barwan climbed this peak above Langja village in Spiti on 14 September.

Gangstang (6162m) On 1 August five members of an Indian team climbed this peak near Keylong, Lahul. The leader was N C Paramik.

Sanakdenk (6044m) and Pt 6070 In August an Indian team from Bengal failed on these peaks near Milling, Shipting nala in Lahul.

Fluted Peak (6122m) This peak near Losar in Spiti was climbed by an Indian expedition from Bengal on 27 August. The leader was Tarit Das.

Tambu (5790m) and Jori (5790m) Heavy rains in July defeated a Bombay team led by S M Sawant on these two peaks.

Khamengar (5760m) and parahio (5920m) Harish Kapadia and Kaivan Mistry climbed these two peaks during a 220km trek in the area. (For full details see’ Exploration in Western Spiti’, Pages 71-75.)

Kashmir, Zanskar and Ladakh Cerro Kishtwar (6220m) Mick Fowler and Steve Sustad made the noteworthy first ascent of this peak on 19 September (Scottish 6 and A3). (for full details see ‘The One That Nearly Got Away’, pages 48-53.)

Dzo Jongo (6120m) This lovely peak situated in the Markha valley, Zanskar was climbed by Frank Seubert and Birgit Rossberg on 17 August. They followed the N ridge.

Kun (7077m) A six-member team led by Trippaceur Hermann was successful in August.

Pinnacle peak (6930m) A French team led by Christian Julien established three camps on the SW ridge of the peak near the Nun-Kun massif. They were defeated by heavy snow in early August.

Bobang (5670m) On 7 August a team from Kashmir, led by Shawket Hussain, climbed this peak which is situated in the Panikhar valley on the Suru river.

Eastern Karakoram Aq Tash (7016m) The first ascent of this prominent peak rising above Saser Lawas achieved by an Indo-Japanese expedition, led jointly by Hukam Singh (Indo-Tibet Border Police) and Minoru Nagoshi (Hiroshima Alpine Club). After setting up Base Camp on 18 July the Japanese and Indians climbed separately on the SW face and S ridge respectively. Both routes proved difficult. After fixing 1500m of rope Nobuo yamamoto and yasufumi (Japan) summited on 6 August. The Indians fixed 2000m and six members summited on 8 August. Though situated near the Central Asia trade route this peak had never been attempted before.

Mamostong Kangri Ii (7023m) An Indo-Austrian expedition led by N Ravikumar and Gunther Steinmair made the first ascent of this peak, 2km W of the main peak (751m). After fixing 400m of rope, four Austrians summited in a 10hr push from Camp 3 on 14 August, Subsequent attempts failed, but the party climbed both the peak’s two lower summits.