Indian Himalaya: Climbing and Other News - 1994

Harish Kapadia

There were 154 expeditions to the Indian Himalaya this year. Out of these, 96 were Indian expeditions, 53 foreign and five were Joint. A very heavy and late monsoon troubled expeditions from July until almost the end of September. Surprisingly, the monsoon was most severe in the Trans-Himalayan areas. Spiti had the Worst weather in its history, while Ladakh and the Eastern Karakoram also had much rain, which is a rarity there.

Peak Fees A double royalty is now being enforced in Sikkim: $3500 for the IMF and $3500 for the Sikkim government. In addition, two liaison officers have to be engaged to represent these two authorities. Despite a range of discussions taking place in Delhi nobody seems to be able to persuade the Government to change its mind, but the change of Local Government in the recent election may finally change this draconian rule. There is also a possibility of all Indian peak fees increasing.

Literature The Himalayan Journal, which is published from Bombay, brought out its 50 th volume in 1994. To mark the event the book Environment protection of the Himalaya (Edited by Aamir Ali) and a Consolidated Index to the HJ Volumes 1 to 50 were published.

Arunachal Pradesh In October the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, celebrating its 40 th anniversary, attempted Kangto (7090m) , which has no ascent recorded from the Indian side. They explored Kangto beyong Chokersum, but felt that it could be approached only across the international boundary, the McMahon Line. Not wanting to risk a dispute, they returned and climbed Gorichen I (6488m) and Gorichen East (6222m) by their E ridges.

Sikkim Siniolchu (6887m) On 28 May Vanja Furlan and Uros Rupar (Slovenia) climbed the N face and NW ridge of this beautiful peak on the Zemu glacier. At the same time a Japanese team were reconnoitring the N face. An Indian Army expedition climbed Twins (7350m) in N Sikkim. Some of the summiters were evacuated with serious frostbite.

Kumaon - Garhwal Chaukhamba II (7068m) A four-man Korean expedition led by Kim Woong Sik attempted this virgin peak. For the first time the mountain was approached from the Gangotri glacier. They were beaten by stonefall and an equipment shortage after establishing Camp 3 (6200m). On Chaturangi III (6304m) A S Miller and R Weight reached 100m below the summit on 29 October.

Yogeshwar (6678m) A Spanish expedition approached from the Shyamvarna glacier and attempted the S ridge, but gave up owing to huge crevasses and very loose rocks. They climbed the nearby Saife (6166m) on 19 September from the Swetvarna glacier.

A Japanese expedition reached 6100m on the W face of Bhagirathi I (6856m) in bad bad weather. On 7 October they climbed Bhagirathi II (6572m).

Peak 6454m) John Chapman, Vera Wong the Bazely Kynam Peter climbed the SW pillar on 11 September with two bivouacs.

The well-know Slovene pair Matjaz Jamnik and Silvo Karo attemped the W face of Bhagirathi IV (6173m) (rated by Doug Scott as one of the major problems of the Garhwal). After eleven attempts to climb the face they reached a high point of c5500m on 22 August. They stayed in the Bhagirathi Group for 36 days of which only 3 days were without rain or snow ( Jozef Nyka)

Meru (6450m) A Spanish team reached the summit via the E face on 27 September. They also climbed shivling (6543m) from the east on 10 October. Other teams tried the N ridge and W ridge of shivling unsuccessfully in August and September.

A Swiss expedition attempted Kedarnath (6940m) during the monsoon season. They reached 6300m in July, when soft snow and rains stopped them. Four foreign expeditions attempted Thalay Sagar (6904m) unsuccessfully.

Kedar Dome (6831m) This high peak with easy accessibility has become a popular target in recent years. Many expeditions attempted it this year, including one led by john Cleare (UK). On anther, Ms Sunita Kayanki (India) was killed in an avalanche. Janusz Golab (Poland) climbed the mountain by the normal route in 12 hours.

Nanda Devi East (7434m) Four expeditions made attempts via the Longstaff col on the S ridge. A Spanish team were successful on 27 June, as were Roger Payne and Julie-Ann Clyma on 6 October, making the first British/New Zealand ascent. (See article ‘Voyage to the Goddess’, pages 52-56.)

Chandra Parbat I (6739m) An Australian team led by Darren Miller, made the first ascent of this peak, via the SW ridge, on 21 September. Chandra Parbat II (6728m) has already been climbed.

Lamchir West (5500m) An American expedition from the National Outdoor Leadership School, led by Krishnan Kutty, climbed the NW ridge on 25 May. On 30 May. On 30 May, eleven members made the first ascent of the snow-dome named Nandakini (5600m) by the NW face. In October another team from the same organisation attempted Lamchir and were successful on Nandakini.

Trisul 1 (7120m) Markus Ulrich and Randler Marues (Germany) Climbed the W ridge, reaching the summit on 22 September. An Indian team reached 6400m on the western route.

Trimukhi Parbat (6422m) An Indian Army team from the14 Punjab Regiment made the first ascent of this shapely, difficult peak in the Jadhganga valley on 27 June. They also climbed Nandi (5795m) and Trimukhi Parbat E (6280m). This area was first explored by Dr J B Auden in 1939. Nandi and Trimukhi Parbat East were first climbed by Harish Kapadia and Monesh Devjani in 1990.

Mandani (6193m) On 18 September a team from Bengal was stopped 100m below the summit owing to a huge creavasse. Two teams from Bengal climbed Gangotri I (6672m) on 25 May and 5 June.

Satopanth (7075m) Paul Herrington (Ireland) summited via the N ridge on 8 October, as did members of Korean and Japanese expeditions (on 27 May and 24 September respectively).

Mana NW (7092m) A team from Bombay led Suhas Kharde reached 6900m on this virgin peak in June. They were stopped by sustained bad weather. A joint Mongolian-Indian-Tibet Border Police team climbed the NE ridge of jaonli (6632m) on 23 November. An Indian team from Calcutta reached 6800m on

Niligiri Parbat (6474m) A four-man team from Bombay reached 5640m on this peak at the head of the Khulia Garvia glacier, Central Garhwal, during May-June. On 7 June an Indian Army expedition summited from the Banke Gad Valley, using a similar approach to Frank Symthe’s 1937 first ascent.

Traill’s Pass (5400m) This difficult high pass which divides the Pindari glacier and the Milam valley was crossed by an Indian team led by Anup Sah. It may have been the first crossing for 40 years.

Baba Manindra Paul, a physically handicapped sandu turned mountaineer, led an expedition to abi Gamin (7355m) in the Garhwal Himalaya and reached the summit on 30 August.

Himachal pradesh Rangrik Rang (6553m), Manirang (6593m), Mangla (5800m), Saponang (5836m) and Ghunsarang (5800m) An Indian-British Expedition led by Chris Bonington and Harish Kapadia climbed these peaks in May-June. (See ‘A Truly Joint Venture’, pages 57-64, and ‘Manirang, 6593m’, pages 65-70.)

Sesar Rang (6095m) This lovely peak is situated on the watershed between the Tirung gad and Gvamithang gad in the East Kinnaur. It was climbed by a 13-man team from Bengal on 2 September.

In July 1994, a Delhi team attempted Gya (6794m) from the north. This was the first attempt to climb the mountain and the first attempt to approach it from the north (Chang Thang, Ladakh) side. Base Camp was reached after traversing a largely unexplored, treacherous gorge in three days. They were affected by an unprecedented spell of bad weather in Spiti that lasted 17 days. Abandoning plans to attempt a steep rock face, they attempted an elegant mixed line leading to a col near the summit on the serrated NE ridge. Their high point was 6500m.

Shigri Parbat (6526m) A British expedition climbed this high peak situated on the Lahur-Spiti divide. They approached from the Bara Shigri glacier and climbed the NW ridge. Three members, Adrian Langnado, Paul Hart and Bob neubry reached the summit on 13 September. They later failed on Peak 6310m on the Bara Shigri glacier owing to poor snow. A Bengal team climbed Peak 5792m on this glacier on 30 September.

Kullu Pumori (6553m) This peak stands in the centre of the Bara Shigri glacier like a beautiful pyramid. A Bengal expedition climbed the SE ridge on 6 September.

A Japanese team climbed CB 13 (6264m) in Central Lahul on 7 August. During August an Indian team, led by Arun Samant, climbed seven peaks in the Losar nala. Six were first ascent. Num Themga (6024m) was the hardest. A British expedition led by Oliver Shergold made several first ascents in the Parvati valley. (See MEF Reports, ref. 94/27)

A Polish groups climbed the S face of Peak (6005m) (near K R 7) on 21 August. A Japanese expedition climbed the E ridge on KR 7 (6096m) in rather poor weather, reaching the summit on 18 August and another Japanese expedition climbed the NE ridge of CB 14 (6079m) in mid-August. An RAF team reached 6250m on Menthosa (6443m). (See MEF Reports, ref. 91/10)

Hanuman Tibba (5928m) An Assam Adventure Foundation team attempted this peak. They were defeated by bad weather and poor snow conditions on 26 May. A team from Delhi, led by Surender Sonik were successful on 14 September.

An Indian team climbed Fluted peak (6159m) on the Karcha nala on 20 August. A team from bengal climbed Chau Chau Kang Nilda (6303m) in Spiti on 30 August. Unfortunately one member, Sambhu Nath Gosh, died from Altitude sickness.

Snow Cone (6225m) This peak rises above the Layul col (formerly Gunther’s col) on the Bara Shigri glacier. An Indian party led by Soumajit Roy reached the col and attempted the peak on 16 and 19 August. They failed to climb the peak on both occasions owing to poor weather.

Akela Killa (CB 46, 6006m) in the Kulti valley was climbed on 2 September by a team from Bangalore. A team from Calcutta climbed the lovely peak Gangstanf (6162m) in Lahul. They approached from the Nisang valley and summited on 2 September. Two teams from Bengal climbed Karcha Parbat (6270m), on 28 August and 28 September respectively.

Dharamsura (6446m) A team from Bombay were defeated by heavy snowfall and strong winds in early June. They climbed the nearby peak of Angdu Ri (5945m) on 16 June.

Ali Ratni Tibba (5490m) in the Manikaran spires/malana glacier area was attempted by a four-man Indian expedition. The expedition rode to Manali on two Enfield motorcycles and attempted the Scottish 1964 first ascent route up the Steep ramp on the W face. They reached c500m. The route remains probably the most classic line in the whole area.

Jammu and Kashmir Hagshu (6330m) Access to the Kishtwar area from the usual approaches of Jammu is restricted. People climbing in these areas have had to use a long approach via Lahul or Zanskar. A spanish expedition approached the mountain over Umasi La, via Zanskar. They established Camp 1 at 5700m near the rock wall and attempted the S ridge and SW face. Bad weather defeated their attempts and the expedition gave up on 26 August. John Barry and Seb Mankelow reached c6000m on the N face in September. (See MEF Reports, ref. 94/28)

Arjun (6200m) A German expedition attempted the E ridge and reached a high point on 24 September, when bad weather caught up with them. The party had problems with their guides and porters.

Nun (7135m) A British-American team led by A1 Burgess attempted the W ridge, but gave up after lots of new snow and avalanche danger. A Spanish expedition climbed the E ridge of Kun (7087m) on 21 August.