Indian Himalaya: Climbing and Other News - 2000


Harish Kapadia

This year was marked by several good expeditions and ascents of new peaks in the Indian Himalaya. Amongst the leading climbs in the Garhwal were the ascents of Nilkanth, a new line of ascent on Shivling by the Germans and the Korean ascents of Mukut Parvat East and Abi Gamin. A British team visited the Arwa valley again and made a fine ascent of Arwa Spire. Indian teams climbed Sudarshan Parvat, Chaturangi and Sri Kailash.

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation organized two small budget expeditions to Burphu Dhura. The second expedition made the first ascent of the main peak.

In Himachal the first ascent of Khangla Tarbo was achieved by an Irish team. Gepang Goh was attempted by the Indian team while the Japanese teams made excellent exploratory climbs in Spiti.

In the higher ranges, Kangchenjunga sent back an Austrian team from a height of only 6200 m. The exploration of Rimo Glacier and the ascent of Rimo III was another highlight of the season. The Indo-French team also reached Karakoram Pass and Col Italia, one of the rare civilian teams to do so, creating a history of sorts.

On “common” peaks, apart from those covered here, following was the tally:

Peak Expeditions Kun 3 Kedar Dome 2 Stok Kangri 6 Jogin Group 4 Thelu 7 Kalanag 2 Manali / Ladakhi 5 Kalindi 1 Bauljuri 1 Bhagirathi II 2 Baby Shivling 1 Rudugaira 1

Total 35 expeditions.

EXPEDITIONS IN THE INDIAN HIMALAYA, 2000.

Sikkim

Kangchenjunga ( 8586 m) Expedition : Austrian Leader : Will Bauer Period : April-May 2000 Result : The 10 member team set up the base camp at Green Lake ( 4700 m) on the Zemu glacier in mid-April. They proceeded slowly up the east ridge route setting; ABC (5250 m) Camp 1 ( 5625 m) and Camp 2 (6200 m). Route ahead was full of soft snow due to fresh snowfall and they found route dangerous. The attempt was given up at 6200 m on 8th May.

GARHWAL

New Route on Nilkanth

On June 1st a British expedition led by Martin Moran made the first ascent of the West Ridge of Nilkanth (6596m). This ice spire rising directly above Badrinath temple is one of the most beautiful summits of the Indian Himalaya and has maintained an enigmatic reputation with only a few known ascents in 50 years of attempts from all sides. After a 5-day climb John Leedale, Andy Nisbet and Jonathan Preston (UK) and Casper Venter (SA) made it to the top with Moran. The route involved an initial danger of serac fall on the climb from base camp, but thereafter was relatively safe with rock pitches up to IV+, some sustained Scottish grade II and III mixed climbing and a fine corniced summit ridge at an overall grade of D+/TD-. The team fixed 200m of rope around pinnacles at the foot of the ridge but thereafter climbed in Alpine-style a 6-day round trip from base camp. First inspected by Edmund Hillary during his first visit to the Himalaya in 1951 the West Ridge was most recently attempted by British climbers Chris Pasteur and Duncan Tunstall in 1993, who had to retreat from 5850m due to altitude sickness. During the Nilkanth ascent other groups from the party explored the unclimbed Panpatia range of peaks to the south, known as Vishnu Ghar Dhar (Vishnu’s Fortress), making the first ascent of Point 5919m at PD+/AD-standard (for which the name Lakshmi’s Peak is proposed), followed by the first recorded crossing of the 5200m Panpatia Col to Madhyamaheshwar temple and Kalimath. The party was lucky to enjoy excellent weather during the climbing period from May 17th to June 2nd, 2000. On the day of return to base camp after the Nilkanth climb the weather broke and a week of heavy rains commenced. A wealth of other exploration remains to be tackled on the other peaks of the Panpatia range, notably 6257 m Parvati Parvat and Pt 5968 m. However, the glacier approaches to many of the peaks are difficult. More details can be found on Martin Moran’s web site: www.moran-mountain.co.uk

Abi Gamin (7,355 m) and Mukut Parvat East (7,130 m) Expedition: Korean Leader: Nam-il Kim Period: July-August Results: This Korean team of 15 members established their base camp on 3 rd August with the help of 150 porters. This was the team which had climbed Mukut Parvat East II (the lower peak) two years before. They approached the mountain from Badrinath and followed the route to center of both the peaks. Common camps were set up for both peaks. Finally, on 11th August, they established camp 3 at around 6,600 m. Mukut Parvat East was climbed by 3 members on 22nd August and 4 members reached the summit on 26th August. Abi Gamin was climbed by 3 members on 27th August.

Arwa Spire (6,193 m) Expedition: British Leader: Kenton Cool Period: September-October Result: This shapely peak in the remote Arwa valley was first noticed by an Indian expedition in 1997. In 1999, a British team climbed Arwa Tower (6,352 m) for the first time. This year a six member British team with Kenton Cool as their leader attempted Arwa Spire in the post-monsoon season. Their initial attempt on the mountain via North face was not successful. They changed their route and succeeded via the East Ridge. On 11th October, Peter and Andrew Benson reached the virgin summit and they were followed by Alan Powell, Kenton Cool and Ian Parneel on 16th October. This was one of the finest climbs in the Garhwal this season.

Bhagirathi III (6,454 m)

1. Expedition: Swedish Leader: Hendrik Kuiper. Period: August - September Result: Unsuccessful. Hendrik Kuiper and Peter formed the two-member team and attempted the peak via the West pillar. On 11th September they retreated due to bad weather and extreme cold.

2. Expedition: German Leader: Walter Hoelzler. Period: September - October Result: Unsuccessful. This German team of 4 members could reach up to 5800 m but heavy snowfall and ice on the route stopped their attempt.

Gangotri (6,672 m) Expedition: Italian Leader: Massiuo Pagani Period: September - October Result: Unsuccessful. The Italian team consisting of 8 members reached at around 5,800 m from where they had to retreat because of heavy snowfall and bad weather.

Jogin I (6,465 m) Expedition: British Leader: Paul Farmer. Period: September - October Result: Unsuccessful. The team of 6 members attempted this peak in the Kedarganga valley in the post monsoon season. On 2nd October they had to turn back from 5,900 m due to too much unconsolidated snow.

Satopanth (7,075 m) This is one of the most frequently attempted seven thousanders of the Gangotri region.

1. Expedition: Spanish Leader: Edurado Cuber Cabrera Period: June Result: Unsuccessful. The team of 8 climbers attempted the peak on 6th June and on 13th June. Both the attempts were foiled by bad weather.

2. Expedition : Indian (Pune) Leader : Patade Rajesh (5 members) Period : August 2000. Result : On 21st August the team was set up on the Nandanvan Plateau on the Gangotri glacier. They passed Vasuki Tal and reached Camp 1 on the 29th . On 1st September they left at 8.30 a.m. to attempt the summit directly from Camp 1 at about 6000 m. Nikrant Shinde fell and his fall was arrested by Rajesh Patade. However Nikrant had broken a finger and suffered bruises and the expedition was called off.

3. Satopanth was also attempted by a Swiss team which was unsuccessful. No details are available of this attempt.

Shivling (6,543 m)

This famous peak in the Gangotri area received its fair share of attempts and ascents. The details of some of them are as follows-

1. Expedition: French Leader: E. Ratouis and B. Hassler Period: May – June Result: On 30th May, Irma Wolf and Bruno Hassler reached the summit of Shivling by the West ridge. Earlier the same pair had climbed Bhagirathi II (6,512 m) on 10th May by the East face. On 22nd May Bhagirathi II was also climbed by B. Laubert, F. Gendarme and I. Retat.

2. Expedition: German This was a two-member team comprising Huber Thomas and Huber Alexander. Period: May-June Result: Huber Alexander fell ill early in the expedition. Hence Huber Thomas teamed up with a member from the Swiss expedition, Ivan Wolf made an solo ascent via the north ridge direct on 31st may. This was one of the finest climbs on Shivling in several years and they have called it “Shiva’s Line”. . Both received the French award of Le Piolet d'Or for this climb.

3. Expedition: American - Canadian Leader: Ms Karen McNeil Period: September-October Result: This American – Canadian ladies’ team of four members initially attempted the East ridge from 22nd to 28th September but this attempt could not succeed. Afterwards they attempted the peak by the West ridge and after establishing two camps en route the leader with Ms Sue Nott reached the summit on 3rd October.

4. Expedition: Swiss This was again a two member team of F. Markus and B. Romen Period: October Result: Unsuccessful. The pair reached up to 6000 m where too much snow prevented further progress.

5. Expedition: French Leader: M. Francois Period: September Result: Unsuccessful. This seven-member team attempted Shivling via the North face. They had to stop 150 m below the top due to bad weather.

6. Expedition: French Leader: Emmanuel Pozzera Period: August Result: Unsuccessful. This seven-member team attempted Shivling via the West reached but the attempt was called off due to bad weather.

7. Expedition: Indian Leader: Dilip Naskar Period: August / Septembr Result: Unsuccessful. It was six member team which attempted the normal route. However a bad storm on 23rs September forced them to retreat.

Nanda Kot ( 6861 m) Expedition : Indian Leader : Basanta Singha Roy Period : October 2000 Result : A famous peak on the Milam Valley trail. After proceeding along the Gori Ganga, base was established at 4140 m in the Lwan valley. After two more camps they reached 6100 m on 19th October when they found the terrain too difficult and returned.

Thalay Sagar (6,904 m) Expedition: Korean Leader: Hwang Won Chel Period: August - September Result: This Korean team of 8 members established their base camp on 15th August. They faced occasional bad weather. They chose the Northwest ridge for their attempt. On 10th September, Jeong Il Oong and Kim Jun Mo reached the summit.

Rataban (6167 m)

Ratanban has two approaches. One is via the Valley of Flowers and Bhuidhar Pass. The other route approaches from the north, again reaching near the same pass. This year the peak saw three attempts.

1. Expedition : Indian (Howrah) Leader : Kaushik Bhattacharya Period : August 2000 Result: This team approached the peak from Bhuidhar valley (Valley of Flowers) setting up 3 camps, the last one on the pass at about 5490 m. They faced bad weather but finally on 27th August the leader with 5 members and three HAPs reached the summit. The summiteers were Soneh Lahiri, Baidyanath Santra, Binod Kr. Ram, Rakhal Ghosh and Amit Patra.

2. Expedition : Indian (Bengal) Leader : Suman Guhaneogi Period : June 2000 Result: This team approached the peak from Kosa valley near Malari. Three camps were set up on the Kosa Kunar glacier. They attempted the top on 18th June but were stopped at 6010 m as a large crevasse barred their way.

3. Expedition : Indian (Calcutta) Leader : Amulya Sen Period : June 2000 Result: This team also approached the peak from Bhuidhar valley (Valley of Flowers) and set up their Camp 3 at 5150 m near the pass. The summit was attempted on 3rd July but they stopped about 60 m below the peak as a hail storm caught up with them.

Sudarshan Parvat (6507 m)

1. Expedition : Indian (Calcutta) Leader : Bivujit B. Mukhoty (12 members) Period : August 2000. Result : They followed the now popular east ridge approach. BC was set up at Thelu-Raktavarna glaciers’ junction on 28th August and three more camps were set on the Swetvarna Glacier till 6000 m. However due to persistent bad weather and lack of time they gave up the attempt at 6000 m on 2nd September.

2. Expedition : Indian (Jamshedpur) Leader : Rajendra Singh Pal (9 members) Period : June 2000. Result : This team also followed the same approach as above. They finally followed the route of first ascent (1981) and the summit was reached on 9th July via the east ridge. Summiteers were N. S. Panwar, R. S. Pal and R. Bhat.

Chandra Parvat (6728 m) Expedition : Indian (Durgapur, Bengal) Leader : P. C. Nath (13 members) Period : May-June 2000. Result : This beautiful peak has two summits and stands on the Suralaya Bamak. The team proceeded along the Gangotri glacier to Suralaya Bamak setting up ABC and two more camps on the mountain. Finally on 30th May the ridge which rises from the Suralaya Bamak was climbed to the summit. Summiteers were Leader, Monotosh Majumdar, Bahadur and Thapa.

Peak 5242 m (East of Panch Chuli V) Expedition : Indian (Calcutta) Leader : Pradeep Kr Kar (16 members) Period : May 2000. Result : The main intention of the team was to attempt the virgin peak of Panch Chuli III from the eastern approaches. They approached from Son Duktu village and through the Meola Glacier. However considering the difficulties of Peak III they decided to climb the peak which rises on the ridge falling from the long ridge of Panch Chuli V, to the south of the Meola Glacier. This gentle peak was climbed on 22nd may by S. Majumdar, Arup Saha, Moloy Kanti Halder and leader.

Deoban (6855 m) Expedition : Indian (Nawabgunj, Bengal) Leader : Pallab Das (16 members) Period : July 2000. Result: This is a high peak situated near Kamet. This team set up a BC at Vasuki Tal and followed the long ridge falling from Bidhan Parvat. On 18th July Camp 4 was set up at 6400 m. However bad weather forced them to wait at this camp for 2 days and as there was no improvement in the weather, the attempt was given up.

Chaturangi (6407 m) Expedition : Indian Ladies (Calcutta) Leader : Ms Rupa Santra (14 members) Period : September-October 2000. Result: A well known peak in the Gangotri Glacier group. The ladies’ expedition followed the route from along the glacier to set up series of three camps n the mountain. The summit was reached on 1st October by Ms. Rupa Santra, Ms. Barnail Mukherjee and Ms. Angibi Devi.

Two IMF expeditions to peak Burphu Dhura Expeditions inin -2000

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation organised two expedition to Burphu Dhura ( 6210 m) during the year, in addition to the one expedition in 1999. The first expedition followed the route pioneered by the first expedition in 1999 and climbed the South peak.

The second expedition reached the main summit – a worthy first ascent in eastern Kumaun.

1. The first expedition consisted of 8 members and was led by R C Bhardwaj.

Apart from the leader t he team consisted of Roshan Ghatraj, Amresh Jha, Sadique Ali Khan, Rushad Nanavatty, Naresh Bhardwaj, Nagendra Sahi and Balwant Singh Kapkoti.

They left Delhi on 8th June and travelled via Munsiary to make a base camp on the Sankalpa glacier at 3630 m on 16th June. Advance base camp was established on the Kalabaland glacier on the 18th at 4565 m. Ahead of the ABC, 150 m of rope was fixed to reach the foot of southern side of Burphu main. Camp I was established here at 5430 m on 23rd June. Passing through several crevasses they fixed 450 m of rope and established Camp II on the rocky route and leading to a snow plateau at 5760 m . This was on 26th June.

Ascent of Burphu South: On the same day, 26th June, a 4 member team started from Camp I at 5.45 a.m. and repeated the ascent of Burphu South via the North East ridge (first climbed in 1999 by the same route). Summiteers were R C Bhardwaj, Amresh Jha and Nagendra Sahi.

The other team on the 27th occupied Camp II and fixed 150 m rope towards the main summit. However, the weather remained bad for the next three days and they were forced to return on 30th June. The following three persons reached at the highest point; Roshan Ghatrsaj, Sadique Ali and Nagender Sahi.

An avalanche swept down Rushad Nanavatty on 27 June between ABC and Camp I. Member Balwant Singh Kapkoti was escorted down towards ABC when an avalanche rolled down between the gully and the slopes of South Burphu Dhura. He was carried down 150 m and escaped with slight injuries. He was saved due to a good helmet and a strong British rucksack given by his father.

On 1st July they returned to base camp and came back to Munsiari.

2. The second expedition to Burphu Dhura, which was successful in making the first ascent of the peak, was led by Wing Cdr S S Puri.

It followed the same route till ABC like the first two expeditions. A Base camp (3830 m) was set up on 22rd22nd September 2000 at the junction of the Kalabaland and Sankalpa glaciers. ABC (4400m) was at foot of the Kalabaland icefall. Two further camps were established at 5200 m and 5800 m till 26th September. Next day a party of three occupied the last camp.

The summit was climbed on 27th September 2000 by Loveraj Dharmashaktu, Balwant Singh Kapkoti and Ramesh. They left camp at 5 a.m. and proceeded along the route which was fixed a day earlier. They reached ‘Shark’s Fin’, a prominent feature on the ridge at 6 a.m. Proceeding carefully ahead they reached the two-humped summit, climbing both the humps to make sure there was no mistake. The summit was reached at 9.50 a.m.

This was the first ascent of the peak. Another challenging peak in the Kumaun had been climbed.

 

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Khangla Tarbo I (6,315 m) Expedition: Irish Leader: Patrick O’Leary. Period: August - September Result: Kangla Tarbo so far remained a major unclimbed peak in the Khamengar area. The 65-year-old veteran, Patrick O’Leary, who is one of the prime explorers of the Spiti Himalaya led his team of 5 climbers and they were successful in reaching the virgin summit of Khangla Tarbo I. On 9th September, G. Brian, D. Colin and R. Hugh reached the top via the South face. They explored the nearby valleys after their climb.

Menthosa (6,443 m) Expedition: Japanese Leaders: Kazuto Obata and Kazuto Yamamoto. Period: July - August Result: The team trekked from Udaipur to their base camp via Karpat village. Their route followed the Southeast ridge. 2 members reached the summit on 12th August. On 13th and 14th August the ascent was repeated by 3 different members each day.

Snow Cone (6311 m) Expedition : Indian Leader : Biplab Sengupta Period : June 2000 Result : This peak is situated at the head of the Bara Shigri glacier in Lahaul. It is to the north of Shigri Parvat. This was an 8 member team from Calcutta. Base camp was established at Concordia on 25th June 2000. After establishing two more camps the summit was climbed on 29th June. Summitters were ; leader, Robin, Protush Sau, Subrata Majumdar and Raju Kumar with three High Altitude Supporters.

Mulkila IV (6,517 m) Expedition: Japanese Leader: Minoru Yanagi Period: July - August Result: Unsuccessful. The leader along with Kiyoshi Ishi and M. Zazala reached at around 5,700 m on 13th August where huge crevasses in the upper section stopped them.

South Parvati (6,128 m) Expedition: British Leader: Oliver Sanders Period: September Result: Unsuccessful. Oliver Sanders with Martin Chester and Ian M. C. Peter attempted the Southwest ridge. They had to face bad weather with heavy snow-fall almost every day. Constant rock-fall was another hurdle. This is a high pyramid peak in the Parvati river valley approached from Kullu and Bhuntar.

Unnamed Peaks (6222 m) and (6140 m) Expedition: Japanese Leader: Takako Kato Period: July - August Result: This Japanese team consisting of 12 members successfully climbed both the peaks. Peak 6,140 m was climbed on 5th August via its North face by 7 Members. Peak 6,222 m was climbed by 7 members on 7th August via its Northeast ridge. Both these peaks are situated on the border of Lahaul and Spiti, northwest of Lagbhorche peak. This is situated north of Kunzum La and approach is via Lungbar Topko and Karcha nala.

Unnamed Peak 6,250 m H.P. Expedition: British Leader: Graham Boswell Period: July - August Result: This peak is situated towards the north of Chandra tal. They turned east from Topko Gogma. The peak is near point Tagne (5870 m) marked on the map. The team of 11 members reached the East col and then followed the East ridge to the summit. On 5th and 6th August 6 members and then 3 reached the top respectively.

Peak 6127 m (Lahaul) Expedition : Indian ( Calcutta) Leader : Prasanta Roy Period : October 2000 Result : The eight member team travelled on Manali-Leh highway to Darcha and trekked on the popular Shingo La route to Palamo and Chuminako where a BC was set up. This peak is situated west of Shingo La and is approached by a nala in the west as the final climb to the Shingo La begins. The team set up Camp 1 on 7th October. On the 8th they reached a col at 5900 m and as they were approaching the summit a storm hit them. They stopped about 350 m below the summit.

Peak 6111 m (Lahaul) Expedition : Indian (Bengal) Leader : Jyotrimay Dutta Period : August 2000 Result : This peak is situated near Baralacha La. It is to the north of Suraj Tal. The team set up BC on 20th August at 4870 m and Camp 1 at 5330 m near a glacial lake. On 25th the summit was climbed by the leader with Prasant Mandal, Subir Mandal, Jayanta Kr. Dutta and Sanjay Kr. Barman.

Shiva ( 6142 m) (Lahaul) Expedition : Indian ( Bengal) Leader : Gautam Bamik Period : August 2000 Result : A big 16 member team reached BC at 3600 m near Runsun Tal from Manali. After 2 camps till 5250 m the attempt was given up at 5800 m due to large crevasses which they could not cross.

Gepang Goh ( 6053 m) (Lahaul)

1.Expedition : Indian (Calcutta) Leader : Sanat Kr. Paul Period : August 2000 Result : The team travelled from Manali across Rohtang Pass to Sissu nala. They set up 2 camps but faced heavy snowfall on 23rd August. However they attempted the peak on the 26th but gave up due to further snowfall. This was an 8 member team.

2. Expedition : Japanese Leader : Takashi Iazawa ( 6 members) Period : August 2000 Result : The team followed the same route as the Indian team and attempted the north face. Two camps were established and a final attempt was made on 10th August. However continuing bas weather andlack of time forced them to return.

LADAKH – ZANSKAR

Dzo Jongp ( 6i50 m) (Zanskar) Expedition : German Leader : Hermann Wihlem George Period : August 2000 Result : A 15 member team fromGermany climbed the east face of this peak situated in the Markha valley. The peak is to the south of Thiksay monastery. Nine members reached the summit on 26th August.

EAST KARAKORAM

Saser Kangri (7672 m) Expedition : Indian (Chandigadh) Leader : Rakesh Kumar (8 members) Period : August-September 2000. Result : The team approached this high peak in the East Karakoram via the Nubra valley. They followed the South Phukpoche Glacier and established three camps by 25th September. They had intended to follow the normal route from this side, across the peak IV. However a long spell of bad weather stopped their climbing and the team returned.

Peak 6230 m (on Samar Lungpa)

An 18-member expedition from the Indo-Tibet Border Police led by MP Singh left the remote military base of Daulat Beg Oldi (4,848m), north of the Chip Chap River, towards the end of August and summited the 6,230m a peak on Samar Lungpa, close to the Karakoram Pass, on the 11th September. The pass itself is 5,569m high and a desolate spot on the old silk route from Leh to Yarkand. Peaks in the vicinity have a relatively small altitude gain above the surrounding plateau and are normally technically straightforward scree mountains with a little snow cover. However, due to obvious strategic reasons very few have ever been climbed.

Rimo 2000 Karakoram Expedition

An Indo-French Expedition was organised to the East Karakoram in July-August 2000. The expedition climbed two peaks, Rimo IV (7169 m) and Migpa (5935 m). They reached two historic passes, Karakoram Pass and Col Italia. Two new cols were explored, Lharimo and Dzomsa Col. Three Rimo glaciers were explored after several decades. And other points in the area were observed and reached.

However the expedition suffered a tragedy. While returning after the successful trip member was swept away in the Shyok river. While three other members who fell in the river with him managed to survive, Kaivan Mistry hit a rock and died instantly. (Full details of the accident and death is in the tribute to Kaivan Mistry, in the report that follows).His body was recovered lower down and sent to Mumbai.

Karakoram Pass

Starting from Leh on 31st July 2000, the team followed the trail to Karakoram Pass. On this historic Central Asia Trade Route caravans passed till 1959. The India-China war of 1962 put the area under restriction. In the past 40 years this was perhaps the only third civilian party to visit the Karakoram Pass. .

On 12 August the team reached Gapshan. From here two separate base camps were established – on the South Rimo glacier (on its right bank) and on the Central Rimo glacier (foot of the central moraine).

South Rimo Glacier

Two camps were established on the way to the peak. After a day of bad weather, Rimo IV (7169 m) was climbed (third ascent) on the 23rd of August by Dr Jeff and Sherpa Pema Tsering. Lt Cdr S Dam reached an altitude of c. 6800 m before descending to help the ailing liaison officer down to ABC. The route to the summit followed the west face, approached from the cwm between peaks Rimo III and IV.

Two cols, Lharimo Col, on the southern rim of the glacier, and Dzomsa Col, on the northern rim of the south Rimo glacier, were reached on 24th and 25th August respectively, each by three French members .

Central Rimo Glacier

The area of the Central Rimo glacier had been visited only twice before. In 1913 an expedition led by Filippi de Filippi spent some weeks on the both the South, as well as the Central Rimo glaciers, mapping the area, though the party did not reach Col Italia. Their photographs and panoramas are a complete record of these glaciers. In 1930 a party of Italians, led by Prof. G. Dainelli were climbing on the Siachen glacier. The Nubra river, which drains the Siachen glacier, was flooded and blocked their exit beyond Warshi. As an alternative escape route they climbed on the Teram Shehr glacier and crossed a high col at its head and descended the Central Rimo glacier. They named this col ‘Col Italia’. Their party then returned to civilisation by the caravan route from the Depsang la. No other party had visited this glacier in last 70 years.

Three Indian members and four Sherpas proceeded on the Central Rimo glacier. After initial difficulties they opened the route which led to `Lake Filippi’ which was at the centre of the bifurcation of the Central and the South Rimo glaciers. The party followed the right bank of the Central Rimo glacier to set up in all four camps till the foot of `Col Italia’. En route were seen `Lake Dainelli’ and the snout of the North Rimo glacier (International boundary). After a day of bad weather, `Col Italia’ was reached on the 23rd of August by three Indian members and two Sherpas. It is a 7 X 7 kms plateau and they could overlook the legendary `Raider’s Cols 1 and 2’ towards the Shaksgam pass.

They returned to Camp 1 on 25th August. On the 26th the Sherpas Huzefa, Nima and Karma climbed Migpa, (5935 m) (first ascent) and obtained a view of both the glaciers.

The expedition returned by the same route to Sasoma on 2nd September and to Leh on 4th September 2000.

Members:

Indian: Harish Kapadia (overall Leader) (‘Col Italia’ team) , ,Huzefa Electricwala (‘Col Italia’ team) , Kaivan Mistry (‘Col Italia’ team) , Lt Commander Satyabrata Dam (Indian Navy) (South Rimo team), Raj Joshi (South Rimo team) French: (all in South Rimo team) Jean F. Tripard (Deputy Leader), Dr J.F. Manificat, Olivier Follmi and Bernard Odier Liaison Officer: Capt Rahul Jain (South Rimo team) Period: 22 July to 9 September 2000

Peaks Climbed

No. Name and height Date climbed Summiteers Remarks 1. Rimo IV (7169 m – 23,520 ft) 23 August 2000 Dr J.F. Manificat and Pema Tsering Sherpa Third Ascent (via west face) 2. Migpa (5935 m – 19,472 ft ) ‘horseshoe’ 26 August 2000 Huzefa Electricwala, Sherpas Karma and Nima Dorje First Ascent (via southeast ridge)

Passes and Cols Reached

No. Name and height Date reached Persons Remarks 1. Karakoram Pass (5569 m – 18,270 ft) 11 August 2000 Harish Kapadia, Kaivan Mistry, Huzefa Electricwala, Lt. Cdr. S. Dam, Raj Joshi and Capt. R. Jain (LO) As per available records, perhaps ours was only the third civilian party to reach the pass in recent years. 2. Col Italia (5920 m – 19,422 ft ) 23 August 2000 Harish Kapadia, Kaivan Mistry, Huzefa Electricwala, Sherpas Pemba Tsering and Karma. The pass was last crossed in 1930. We were the second party to reach this. 3. Dzomsa Col (6050 m – 19,850 ft) ‘meeting (of glaciers) col’ 25 August 2000 Jeff Tripard, Bernard Odier and Dr J.F. Manificat. Col on the northern rim of the South Rimo glacier, overlooking the Central Rimo glacier. 4. Lharimo Col (6200 m – 20,340 ft) ‘holy col’ 24 August 2000 Jeff Tripard, Bernard Odier and Dr J.F. Manificat. Col on the southern rim of the South Rimo glacier, near Lharimo peak.

(Harish Kapadia) Leader

Death of Kaivan MistryKAIVAN MISTRY

(Accident and death)

Kaivan Mistry, an enthusiastic mountaineer from Bombay, died while crossing the Shyok river while returning from the Rimo Expedition.

As the teams were returning on the 27th of August, as planned, tragedy struck the team. The Central Rimo team was crossing a branch of the Shyok river. Suddenly, Dan Sinh fell and three other members tumbled with him. All four were swept by the Shyok river, even though the water was only knee-deep. The cold was intense and huge chunks of ice were floating rapidly down the river. Three members, Huzefa Electricwala, Harish Kapadia and Kumaoni Dan Singh managed to reach different banks. Dan Sinh was reached first and was rescued by the Sherpas who had managed to locate him. Injured, wet and shivering in the cold breeze, Harish and Huzefa spent almost three hours sheltering under a small rock before help arrived. Kaivan Mistry, who was unable to throw off his heavy rucksack, possibly hit his head against a rock as he fell. He was carried 2 – 3 kms downstream where he was found dead by the South Rimo team that was crossing the Shyok at the same time.

Kaivan’s body was carried to Gapshan and after two days, on 29th Aug, flown to Leh by an Indian Air Force helicopter, then sent to Mumbai on the 30th after conducting a post-mortem at Leh.

Kaivan Mistry (32 years) was an experienced mountaineer on his 9th trip to the Himalaya and the Karakorams. He was a lighting-engineer-designer for the theatre world in Mumbai. He was well-known in the mountaineering and the art circles. Very enthusiastic about the outdoors he loved the trans-Himalayan barrenness. His typical Parsi humour regaled friends on many Himalayan nights. He was unmarried and has left behind old parents. Kaivan will be sorely missed.

(Harish Kapadia) S. P. Godrej

Another Parsi who passed away at ripe age was S. P. Godrej. He was a unique person with a varied interests in mountains, conservation. wildlife and nature. He was the Chairman of Godrej industries in India and could have passed a comfortable corporate life. But his commitment to life brought him in contact with various issues and he devoted time (and many times offered sponsorships) to worthy causes. S.P. Godrej passed away at eighty-eight, and his humour and vitality was still intact till last days. He was the doyen of all activities related to nature. An Hon. Member of the Himalayan Club since 1978, he was President of the World Wide Fund for Nature-India and was associated with the Bombay Natural History Society and many other organisations. He worked actively for ‘The Indian Heritage Society’ which fought against the destruction of many old heritage buildings in Bombay. If a forest was being cut at Matheran hill station near Bombay, he will be up in arms, in courts of law. His commitment to the causes he took up was legendary.

As all gathered to pay tributes to SPG, as he was popularly known, many felt that he was amongst us and would drop in and occupy a seat as he always. He was known for his humour and stories. Even on that solemn occasion I could help narrating an incident about him.

As a party was over, at my residence S.P. Godrej was about to depart. Near the door he bent down to read the make of the lock. ‘It is made by Godrej’, my wife Geeta said. Godrej Industries makes the best locks in India. ‘Good, it won’t open then’, SPG said and burst out laughing. ‘What to do? I have formed this habit, wherever I go I look at the brand name on the locks. Once, decades ago, I went to the Russian Embassy for a visa. Waiting alone in a room I started checking the locks. I couldn’t resist peeping through the key-hole in a door with Godrej lock. You know what I found ? To my utter surprise from the other side, the Russian Ambassador was peeping back at me!’

Whenever forest is denuded, tiger is killed or environment is polluted, SPG will peep through a hole from above and put a stop.