Indian Himalaya: Climbing and Other News - 2002


Harish Kapadia

In the year 2002 there were 108 expeditions to the Indian Himalaya. Out of these 73 were Indian expeditions, and 53 were to notable peaks and which have been covered here. There was a drop in number of foreign teams to climb in the Indian Himalaya and only 35 expeditions climbed here in 2002. Many popular areas like Nun-Kun in Zanskar, Kishtwar and entire Kashmir valley remained closed for mountaineers due to security concerns. Climbs Amongst notable climbs were two first ascents: Padmanabh (7030 m) – by the Indian-Japanese team, Suj Tilla West (6373 m)- by the two member British team, followed by the Indian Navy team. Arwa Tower (6352 m) and Arwa Spire (6132 m) in Garhwal were climbed in good style while smaller peaks like Little Kailash (6321 m) and Brahmasar (5850 m) were climbed. Explorations There were two major explorations and discoveries in the East Karakoram. The vast and unique Teram Shehr Plateau was explored for the first time by the Indian-Japanese team. They traversed the valleys along the Shyok river and stood on the historic Karakoram Pass. Later they crossed high Col Italia, first to do so after 72 years. Two members of the team then trekked up this Teram Shehr Plateau which is at an average height of 6000 m. It is unique to find so high and vast plateau surrounded by peaks and packed with snow and ice and it was first seen by mountaineers climbing nearby peak of Rimo I in 1985. The Indian Army which is stationed on the vast Siachen Glacier also did some exploration. They discovered the remains of the old Balti settlement and the camp of the Italian team led by Prof. G. Dainelli of 1930. Existence of the Balti settlement were observed by the Workman Expedition in 1912 and the Italian team had camped here in 1930. the army found the large stone with inscriptions possibly in the Balti language, old human bones and large inscription by the Italian team. This was certainly one of the important landmark in rediscovery the history of the Siachen glacier. Study Prof. Josef Hala of Prague has compiled a study of virgin summits, higher than 6400 m, climbed by the mountaineers for the first time. The study involved mountain expeditions from 40 countries and included 923 virgin peaks in the Himalaya and the Karakoram. The first three entries are as under and Indian stands a proud third (of course with Britain as second!) Country No. of expeditions to virgin peaks organized by that country. (For the joint expeditions half credit is given to each country) No. of virgin peaks above 6400 m climbed by summiteers of the country. (No second or further ascents of the same expeditions are included.) 1. Japan 290.5 219 2. Great Britain 136 169 3. India 106 170 (Full list of climbs by expeditions from 40 countries is available in the Himalayan Journal Vol. 59 and the Himalayan Club Newsletter 56)

Region-Wise Expeditions To Indian Himalaya 2002

SIKKIM

Nepal peak (7153 m) Expedition: DAV Summit Club, Germany Leader: Herbett Streibel (12 members) This was one of the rare expeditions in the north Sikkim area after many years, to attempt Nepal peak. They followed the route from Gangtok to Lachen and then via Yakthang and Yabuk, Rest Camp and established their base camp on the Nepal Gap Glacier. The base camp was established at 3900 m and Camp 3 was established on the southeast ridge of Nepal peak, at 6620 m. On 21st October, 3 members climbed the south ridge to the summit of Nepal peak. This was one of the rare ascent of this peak. The summit was reached by the leader with Ms. Carl Claudia and Johann Paul Hinterimmer.

UTTARANCHAL

KUMAUN

Changabang (6866 m) and Purbi Dunagiri (6523 m) Expedition: German Leader: Jan Mersch This 11 member German team had ambitious project to attempt Changabang by northern route and Purbi Dunagiri by two different routes. The base camp was established on 17th September with 65 porters and the last camp was at 5800 m, established on 26th September. Changabang was attempted and they reached 5700 m. As there was too much snow they gave up the climb. Purbi Dunagiri was first attempted by the west and south ridge, 6100 m was reached while on the east - southeast ridge, 6200 m was reached. In both cases, very loose rock and dangerous conditions, stopped them.

Little Kailash (6321 m) Expedition: Indian - British Joint Expedition Leader: Martin Moran (11 members) Martin Moran, a regular visitor to the Indian Himalaya, organized this expedition to unknown and remote peak. Proceeding from Dharchula on the pilgrim route, they turned towards Shin la and the Jolingkong lake to attempt the summit. Base camp was established on 26th September and the higher camps were in place by 6th October. On 3rd October a peak which they called ‘Rajula’, about 6000m adjoining to Baba Kailash to north of Shin la was climbed. The summiteers were Martin Moran, T. Rankin, M. Singh, S. Ward, A. Williams and R. Ausden. The height of Little Kailash according to them is 6191 m. They attempted it from the north side from the Jolingkong lake with intention to climb up to 10 m below the summit because of the holy status of the peak. However they were stopped by very loose snow and very rotten rock at about 6000 m. They climbed through a prominent rock band under very heavy snowfall in early September, but later they had good weather, but the conditions did not improve.

The Peak Of Needles Climbed !

Suitilla

One of the finest ascents of this season was climb of Suj Tilla West (6373 m) by two teams in different styles. The peak rises steeply near the Ralam village in the eastern Kumaun and was attempted before by climbers. Its known height was 6373 m. However on recent maps the true height is given as 6394 m. First a team from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation attempted the peak, fixing ropes till ridge. However one of the members slipped and was injured. The team members helped in the rescue and the attempt was given up.

Then came the alpine-style and completely free climb of the peak a wonderful first ascent by two British climbers, Graham Little and Jim Lowther. Starting their climb in dark they pioneered a steep line and climbed without fixing any ropes. They reached the highest point on the ridge which they called Suj Tilla West (6373 m). About 200 m away and 21 m higher they could see the peak of Suj Tilla East (6394 m) which is marked on the map.

Within few days they were followed by a team from the Indian Navy who fixed 1100 m of ropes and following almost the same route reached the same point, to make a worthwhile second ascent of the peak.

Suj Tilla West (6373 m) (earlier known as Suitilla)

Expedition: Indo-British team, First Ascent

Leaders: Paramjit Singh and Graham Little

This small team attempted this virgin peak in the Ralam valley in the eastern Kumaun. Paramjit Singh and member Alka Sabarwal had to return early because of an infection and ailment, while Graham Little and Jim Lowther continued the attempt. They approached via the Shyangalpa glacier and established the base camp on 17th September and subsequent camps, Camp 2 at 5270 m by 28th September. They climbed a superb line free and without any rope fixed. Their attempt on northwest face was given up while they climbed southwest face on 27th and 28th September reaching the summit. They had called the route of the south face as the ‘Moonlight Route’.

This is what Jim Lowther had to write about the climb:

Graham and I climbed the peak in pure Alpine style in a 22 hour long continuous push. By the time we got to the western summit at 6373 m (which we thought was going to be the highest point on the ridge but turned out not to be) we were totally spent and didn't have any reserves left to traverse the ridge to the other, higher, eastern point which we now believe to be 21 meters higher. We had to get down fast because we had no bivvi gear. This we did, and when we met up with the Navy a day later we told their leader about the height differences of the two summits. The western summit that we climbed is the one which you'd naturally assume is the highest point as it is the dominant snow peak visible from Ralam; the eastern summit is set back along the ridge.

(Jim Lowther) (Article, HJ Vol. 59)

Expedition: Indian Navy, Second Ascent

Leader: Lt Cdr Satyabrata Dam

Dates: September to October 2002

Peak Climbed: Suj Tilla West (6373 m) by the southwest face (Divyesh Muni, Lt Amit Pande, Sherpa Nima Dorje on 06 Oct 2002) and (Lt K S Balaji, Lt Amit Rajora, Chera Rajkumar, PO A. Chaudhury, Sherpa Tsange Puri and Nima Thondup on 11 Oct 2002).

The expedition to Suj Tilla was the first in the series of expeditions planned by the Indian Navy. The nine member team along with the support team of 5 Sherpas and two member camera crew established Base Camp (4220 m) at the upper plateau near the bottom of the Yankjari dhura (pass) on 23 Sep. It took several days of load ferry across the Yankjari dhura to establish ABC (4670 m) on the Yankjari glacier on 28 Sep. Beyond ABC the route went through a dreadful icefall, past huge crevasses and rocky cliffs showering stones and boulders from the top. Camp 1 (5350 m), located above the line of a gigantic crevasse, and right below the southwest face of Suj Tilla West, was occupied on 1 October by 4 members and two Sherpas. After a detailed study of the face and the ice and the rock condition, both of which were far from safe, it was decided to climb the face directly and not take the west ridge as it had been intended earlier.

Suitilla South Face

The steep face offered gradients up to 70 degrees and even above at two pitches, with a minimum gradient of 50 degrees at the starting of the real climb. The climb involved technical rock and ice pitches of very high order and the team was constantly under the shower of shooting rocks and ice chunks. The team fixed almost 1100 m of ropes on the route and the line followed was same as used by Graham Little and Jim Lowther a few days earlier during their first ascent. With a good spell of weather the face was opened for 4 days and the first summit attempt on 06 Oct culminated after a continuous climb of 15 hrs in 3 members reaching the heavily corniced summit. After the first summit party descended, the weather took a turn for the worst and Camp 1 was vacated post-haste. The second summit team of 6 members occupied Camp 1 on 10 Oct and in a speedy ascent all of them reached the summit of Suj Tilla West on 11 Oct 2002. Though the team had intended to climb the Ralam Dhura (pass), the plan was abandoned due to extreme inclement weather.

1st Ascent : Lt. Srinivas Balaji and PO Anirban Chowdury on 1st October 2002 by the north ridge.

2nd Ascent : Vineeta and Divyesh Muni by the east ridge on 11th October 2002.

(Lt Cdr Satyabrata Dam) (Article, HJ Vol. 59)

Expedition: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation

Leader: Loveraj Dharamshaktu

In May the team from IMF attempted the peak of Suj Tilla. They fixed ropes till 5700 m and were preparing for an attempt at the summit. However while climbing the fixed ropes a member unroped and slipped on the steep slopes. He was injured and the members had to help in the rescue. The attempt was given up.

GARHWAL

Gangotri Area

Shivling (6543 m) (A) Expedition : Austrian Leader: Herbet Volf (4 members) Shivling was climbed by the west ridge on 26th September 2002 by 4 members including their leader. The other summiteers were Mattle Rolande, Moritz Ijoachim and Bitscanu Leander. Three members of the team from police and were professional guides. (B) Expedition: Swiss Leader: Walter Hungerbulher (6 members) All the seven members of this Swiss team climbed Shivling by the west face on 30th September. They had excellent weather since establishing the base camp on 20th September on south of the Gangotri glacier. The names of other summiteers with the leader were Ms. Rita Schoppmann, Florian Stroub, Bammert Oliver, Hnopeter Hug, Franh Mavcel, Ms. Melanie Blatter. (C) Expedition: Israel Leader: Ran Kagan (3 members) A four member team from Israel climbed the west ridge of Shivling, reaching the summit on 29th September. Along with leader all other three members reached the top. They were Morah Levy, Alan Hod and Goy Hasson. Some members suffered from frost-bites and had to be evacuated on donkeys to Gangotri on way to Delhi. (D) Expedition: Hungarian Leader: Bela Mester (2 members) Shivling was climbed by the west ridge by two members Casadaba Toth and Gabor Babscan, which is the normal route. They had established their last camp at 5520 m and the summit was reached on 2nd October. (E) Expedition: Spanish Leader : Jorge Corominas Garcia A team of 15 members attempted the west ridge of Shivling and the Gangotri glacier. On 5th of October 3 members, leader, Eva Zarzuvuelo, Jam Buenaza reached the summit. Followed next day by Msax Msesek and J. Rimon Agras. They had established the base camp on 24th September and returned back on 23rd October.

Swachand (6721 m) and Meru (6350 m) Expedition: Canadian Leader: Guy M. Edwards (4 members) This experienced team followed the Gangotri glacier and established base camp by 10th September and was climbing at the area for a month. Due to recent snow, attempt on Meru Shark’s Fin turned very dangerous and they gave up an attempt on that. However the west face of Swachand peak was climbed in 4 days going up and 1day return between 3rd and 7th October. The summit was reached on 6th October by Guy Edwards and John Miller.

Meru Shak’s Fin (6304 m) Expedition: British Leader: Julian Cartwright with Jon Bracey, Met Dickinson. They approached this attractive rock face from the Gangotri glacier and established base camp by 16th of September. High camps and summits were tried between 23rd to 27th September by the east face, but they could not reach the summit. The weather was good, but carrying too much equipment, they were weighed down by their weight and could not reach the summit.

Bhrigupanth (6772 m) Expedition: Korean Leader: Woo Suk A Korean team with 8 members attempted the southeast face of Bhrigupanth establishing base camp at 5200 m and further camps up to 6300 m. On 28th August Evn Soo Koo, Kwnchul reached the summit, even though they had some inclement weather along the expedition.

Chaukhamba II (7070 m) Expedition: French Leader: Wagnon Patrick with Peter Trommsdorff, and Sauget Gregoria and Ziania Yannick , Mountaineering Guides from France The climbed Chaukhamba II by west face in perfect style and in a quick push. Braving some early bad weather, they finally ascended the peak in alpine style with three bivouacs in two days and two nights and quickly returning to Delhi.

Sudarshan Parvat (6507 m) and Saife (6166 m) (A) Expedition: Indian, from Pune Leader: Shripad G. Sankpal (11 members) This young team attempted Sudarshan Parvat by the southwest ridge which is not very often climbed. After passing Gaumukh they entered the Thelu bamak. Bypassing peak Thelu towards their west, they climbed up on the southwest ridge to reach the summit of Sudarshan Parvat. Camp 3 was established on 4th of July by Shripad Sankpal, Santosh Bomkar and Chandra Bahadur Sahai and H.A.P. On 7th July, starting early they had made the summit attempt along the sharp snow ridge and going across two rock humps and a hard ice wall on way to the top. The weather was clear and they had an excellent view. On 8th July, Avinash Khandekar and Sachin Naidu reached the summit at 1.30 p.m. following the same route.

Kedarnath (6989 m) Expedition: Italian Leader: Moretti Martino (5 members) A 5 member Italian team of doctors and an Alpine Guide attempted this high peak in the Gangotri valley. They established their camp ahead of Tapovan on the Kirti glacier on 26th September. High Camp was made at 6100 m by 2nd October. They intended to follow the north ridge of Kedar Dome to Kedarnath Peak. However, too much soft snow above 6100 m stopped them.

Thalay Sagar (6904 m) Expedition: Japanese Leader: Hiroshi Kawasaki with Kanji Saito This two member team set up a base camp at 4700 m on 31st May at foot of Thalay Sagar intending to attempt its north face. However, they could reach the height of 6200 m and because of tiredness they gave up the further attempt. The last camp was established on 16th June at 6100 m.

Chaukhamba I (7138 m) and Chaukhamba II (6974 m) Expedition: Korean Leader: Man Jae Lim (8 members) An 8 member Korean team attempted the twin peaks of Chaukhamba from the Mana village going to Vasudhara Col and establishing camp at Satopanth tal. They established the base camp at 4300 m on 25th July and subsequent camps by August 19th up to 6200 m. They attempted the east face of Chaukhamba I and II, but the terrain was full of open and hidden crevasses and there were several seracs hanging on the route. There was rock fall and the leader of the team was hit by a broken serac, but luckily survived. They reached the height of 6500 m on peak I and they had to give up the climbing.

Januhut (6807 m) Expedition: Austrian Leader: Jochler Josef and Zenz Christian This was a two men expedition with leader and Zenz Christian. Both were professional climbing guides from Australia. They established a base camp following the long Gangotri - Tapovan route on 19th of May to the head of the long Gangtori glacier in early June. However, they had plenty of porter problems on their approach march due too much snow in the glacier and later had bad weather which affected fingers of one of the members . No serious attempt was made on the peak.

Chaturangi IV (6304 m) Expedition: Indian, from Calcutta Leader: Dipankar Ghosh (12 members) Chaturangi IV is a peak situated on the Gangotri glacier and it is group of peaks. The team established three camps in early summer and. 7 members reached the summit of Chaturangi IV. Prasanjit Mukherjee, Sandip Chakraborti, Amarjyoti Chakrborti and Arun Sen.

Gangotri III (6577 m) Expedition: Indian, from West Bengal Leader: Suman Guha Neogi Gangotri III lies to south of Gangotri temple at the head of Rudugaira glacier. This team established three camps the last one being at 5900 m. Finally after braving some bad weather, on 2nd June they reached the summit from the south-southeast ridge. The summiteers were Dipankar Ghosh, Debnath Das, Subashish Banerjee, Jaisingh Sahji, Jaisingh Thakur and Laxmansingh Thakur.

Central Garhwal

Devban (6852 m) Expedition: Indo-Tibet Border Police Leader: Y.S. Sandhu This is a high and difficult peak near Kamet in Garhwal. A strong ITBP team reached the summit on 19th September. The summiteers were Vijender Singh, Jyot Singh, Mohammed Ali and Tashi Motop. They followed the south ridge approached from eastern sector.

Rataban (6166 m) Expedition: Indian, from Chandarnagor, West Bengal Leader: Gautam Banik, (16 members) The expedition approached this peak meaning Red Arrow from Malari and coming over the Bhuidhar Khal to establish camp at foot of this peak. The summit was reached following the west and northwest ridge. The peak was reached on 27th August by 12 members, including the leader with Soma Mohanto, Amal Mondal, Bablo Sen, Basudev Sarkar, Madhavi Burman, Babli Gurohi, Subrato Roy and high altitude porters, Raghuvir Singh, Rajbir Singh Ravat, Kumar Singh and Nandan Singh.

Kamet (7756 m) and Abi Gamin (7355 m) Expedition: Indian Leader: R. C. Bharadwaj (10 members) Expedition was from Uttaranchal Tourism Board. They attempted these two high peaks on the border with Tibet in Northern Garhwal. The expedition was able to climb both the peaks. On Abi Gamin the summiteers were Rakesh Joshi, Ashish Singh, William Akbarchandra, Chanda Bist with Sherpa Mig Tamba and the summit was climbed on 3rd October. After suffering some delays on 5th October, Kamet was climbed by team member Satish Chandra Bhat with 3 Sherpas, namely, Pasang Dorje, Dawa and Purba Gyalzen. The team was climbing along with and at the same time with an Indian army team, which were also attempting the summit. Due to late season several members suffered frostbites and cold injuries.

Peak 6075 m (On Kakodagad near Harsil) Expedition : Indian, Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi Leader: Ms. Chandraprabha Aitwal (9 members, all ladies team) The team approached the unclimbed peak via Harsil on the Gangotri motorable road in early September 2002. They acclimatised at Kana tal and base camp was made low at 3100 m. They made 2 camps en route to the summit. The summit was climbed on 19th September after a long day. Climbing two groups seven members reached the summit. They were Sushma Thakur, Kavita Burathoki, Reena Kaushal, Sundri Devi, Babita Gosawi, Ekta with 3 HAPS and Narerndra S. Kutyal.

Jaonli (6632 m) Expedition: British Leader: Oliver Clayton and Ed Cropley A two member team climbed Jaonli by the northwest ridge on 6th June 2002. they had approached from Lod gad valley to Jaonli glacier to reach the foot of the northwest ridge. Base camp was established by 31st May and Camp 2 at 5800 m was set up by 5th of June. Both the young summiteers of 27 years of age, reached the summit in Alpine style.

Brahmasar (5850 m) Expedition: British Leader: Martin Moran (8 members) A small British team led by energetic Martin Moran made ascents of six smaller peaks in Garhwal. These peaks are situated around Khatling glacier at the head of the Pirangla valley. They established a base camp on May 1st and higher camps between May 4 and May 13. The following summits were climbed : ‘Right Rabits’ 5530 m by east ridge ‘The Cathedral’ 5360 m by west couloir ‘The Fortress’ 5541 m by north couloir ‘Point Walkers’ 5260 m by east ridge Point 5709 m by northwest bank Brahmasar II 5800 m by southeast couloir Attempt on Brahmasar I by Martin Moran and two other members failed 60 m below the summit on 11th . They climbed 15 pitches with rock climbing grade 4, 5, and 6 and reached the maximum height of 5790 m. Descent was done by 11. abseils. They had excellent weather all throughout. The first two peaks were climbed by Martin Moran with Mark Davidson and John V….. The last four peaks were climbed by Keith and all the peaks were climbed between 6th and 13th of May.

Arwa Towers (6352 m) and Arwa Spire (6132 m) Expedition: French Leader: De Choudens Antoine (11 members) Arwa Tower, the recently discovered high peak was climbed by two different routes by this strong French team. First they established base camp on 4th of May at foot of this peak and attempted the south face. This was climbed on 11th of June in a three day push my Emanuel Pellissier and Francois Savarx. Then another team climbed the northwest face with the leader and Miston Lment Numose, Dimitry and Huffet Goly Gregory. Arwa Spire 6132 m was also climbed on 16th of May in a three day push by the leader with Francois Savarx, Philip Renard and Thomas Pauchevr. The expedition enjoyed excellent days and had a wonderful time before withdrawing on 21st of May.

Arwa Spire (6193 m) Expedition: Swiss Leader: Bruno Hasler with Stephen Harvey and Roger Schaeli These were the team of three mountain guides from UIAA who attempted this lovely rocky peak in the central Garhwal. They established their base camp at 4660 m and the advanced base camp at 5400 m. On 24th of May, Hasler, Harvey and Schaeli, all three reached the summit of Arwa Spire by the Central Pillar in a three-day Alpine style push. On 5th of June, all the three members climbed the west pillar of Arwa Spire in a 7-day Alpine style push. These were some of the finest ascents in the Indian Himalaya this year.

Arwa Tower (6352 m) Expedition: Swiss Leader: Roux Frederic This was a four member team with three guides and one manager. They climbed the north face and the east ridge on Arwa Tower in 17 hours of Alpine style of climbing on 7th of October, 2002. The summit was reached by the leader with Basson Gabriel and Darbellay Benoit Jen Paul. They had an excellent weather and climbed in best style.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Lahaul

RAMJAK ( 6318 m) First Ascent Expedition: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation Leader: Sangay Dorjee Sherpa Ramjak situated in the Lahaul district of Himachal Pradesh, has attracted many climbers in the past. Two earlier attempts by IMF Expeditions in 2000 and 2001 were unsuccessful. At least three other attempts on this peak by different parties had failed. IMF expedition to Ramjak (6318 metres) under the leadership of Sangay Dorjee Sherpa along with Puyam Cha Mohan; Lolage Manohar R; Kulwinder Kumar; Karma Gyeltshen; K Wallambok Lybgdoh and Amitabh Sarma. Summit from Camp 1 The expedition left Delhi on 22nd July and established their Base Camp at 4620m on 27th July, after fording several icy cold streams on their way. Camp 1 was established on 3rd August after negotiating difficult terrain, crevasses and exposed slopes. Finally, on 4th August, Leader reached the summit along with HAP Dawa Wanchuk, Nima Dorjay, and Mul Dorjay. The team reached Delhi on 10th August 2002.

Unnamed Peak (6265 m) and Tung Ring Ho (5865 m) Expedition: Indian, from Calcutta Leader: Prasanta Roy (8 members) This is the peak located north of Kharcha Parbat in Kharcha nala and the part approached it slightly little to north of Khumsung la. The attempt on peak 6265m failed because of steep snow conditions. However after establishing two camps, the team summated peak 5865 which is locally known as Tung Ring Ho.

Lion (6164 m) Expedition: Indian, from Aarohi, West Bengal Leader: Satyajit Kar, (10 members) Lion is a peak situated in the Barashigri glacier and which was approached from Baltal. Entering the glacier, they established base camp on the Barashigri and on 23rd August the summit was climbed by Dilip Sadhu and Pasang Bodh and Prakash Thakur.

Unnamed Peak (6107m) Koa Rong group Expedition: Polish Leader : Andrzej Zbinshki (Aged 67) (9 members) The Koa Rong group lies to the southeast of Darcha and there are several peaks in these groups of Koa Rong and Tela. The north face of unnamed peak 6107 was attempted on 18th of August reaching 5500m on its steep face. The attempt was made by Kryuztof Gardyna and Krzysztof Bigta.

Shiva (6142 m) Expedition: Indian, Mountaineers Association of Krishnanagar, Calcutta Leader: Basant Singha Roy The summit was reached on 30th August 2002 by leader with Debasis Biswas, Sange Sherpa and Dukka Sherpa

Spiti

Kangla Tarbo I (6315m) and Kangla Tarbo II (6120m) in Spiti Expedition: Indian, from Calcutta Leader: Chanchal Bhagduri (9 members) This is a peak in the Khamengar valley in western Spiti. The team from Calcutta approached it by going from Mikkim and trekking 9 days to reach the base camp. Kangla Tarbo I was climbed on 11th September by Gopal Das and Padma Anchule. The team had excellent weather.

Kinnaur

Phawrarang (6349 m) Kinnaur Expedition: Indian, from Calcutta Leader: Mohammed Mahjoob Khan (7 members) This is a lovely peak situated in the Tirung valley in eastern Kinnaur. The expedition approached it from Thangi and established camp at the foot of the mountain in early September. They attempted south east ridge and from Camp 2 ascended the peak on 17th September. The summiteers were Pasang, Jayanta and Pangba followed by Ramesh and Subrata.

Leo Pargial II (6792 m) Expedition: Indian, Ordinance Factory Trekkers, West Bengal Leader: Sajal Kumar Kundu, (13 members) This is the high peak situated north of Leo Pargial I in the northeastern Kinnaur. They attempted from Yangthang and Nako and made a base camp at the foot of the Leo Pargial glacier. Summiteers were: Baryui, Ratikanta Hembram, Subendru, Subhajit Roy, Subrata Mondal.

Kullu

Deo Tibba (6001 m) Expedition: Tokyo Alpine Club Leader: Hiroaki Aarikava (3 members) The expedition established their camp from Chandra Tal valley in late September and the final camp was made at 5300 m. From here leader and all the three other members climbed the south face to the summit on 2nd October. Along with leader, Tadashi Hirano, Kagu Shibata, Tatsuya Ajaiki.

EAST KARAKORAM

Saser Kangri IV (7416 m) Expedition: Indian, from Chandigarh. Leader: Satyander Singh Rana (14 members) This team attempted the peak from the western approaches moving on from Leh to Nubra valley and Phukpoche glacier. They set up the base camp on this glacier and steadily made the progress establishing Camp 4 at 6500 m. They intended to attempted Saser Kangri I but however with some difficulties of the route and illness to members that attempt was given up. An attempt on 13th July failed, while summit was successfully climbed on the 14th in two ropes by Shivjit Singh, Ajmer Singh and Sange Sherpa. 3 members accompanying them stopped after few hours as two of them fell in a crevasse but were luckily rescued. The second team consisting of the leader, Rakesh Kumar, Ganesh Jaina, Pemba Sherpa and Thandup Sherpa also reached the summit on the same day.

The Indian - Japanese East Karakoram Expedition 2002

The expedition consisting of 5 Indian and 5 Japanese mountaineers undertook a long traverse of the Eastern Karakoram valleys for two months and achieved a lot. The team covered almost 550 km (with various repeated load-ferries), carried almost 2500 kg of food, equipment and personal gear (first on 55 mules, later by personal ferries by 11 members and 15 Sherpas and porters) and lived continuously on snow for almost 35 days, braving rather cold temperatures. There were no injuries, accident and or sickness (except to one porter). The team traversed a historic route in the Shyok valley and returned via the Nubra valley (the Siachen glacier). Five passes were reached or crossed, two large glaciers were fully traversed and a vast unknown ice plateau was explored. Above all, the first ascent of a virgin and difficult 7030 m high peak of Padmanabh was achieved. 1. The team traversed the Shyok river valley from the Shyok village (Tankse - Darbuk) to Karakoram Pass, along the ancient winter Trade route – the first expedition to achieve this in last five decades. 2. Historic Karakoram Pass, on the international border between Indian and China was reached. First time in history of independent India that a team involving foreign mountaineers was permitted to visit the Pass. (One sole British photographer had reached the pass in 1997). Japanese mountaineers were the first from their country to stand on the pass after 93 years. 3. The team traversed the entire Central Rimo Glacier and the Teram Shehr Glacier by crossing Col Italia, the high pass between the two glaciers. It was for the first time, since its first crossing in 1929, that this pass was crossed – after 73 years. (An Indian team consisting of almost same members had reached the pass in 2000, but had not crossed it). 4. The high and vast Teram Shehr Plateau was explored and various cols surrounding the Plateau were investigated. The Plateau is a unique feature in the Karakoram with ice and snow at height of about 6200 m, surrounded by high peaks on all sides. This was for the first time that anyone had reached the plateau (Harish Kapadia and Ryuji Hayashibara), seen so often in photos taken from peaks like Rimo. 5. The first ascent of peak Padmanabh (7030 m) was made on 25th June 2002 (Hiroshi Sakai and Yasushi Tanahashi) After setting up a second Base Camp (5650 m) at its foot another high summit camp was made at 6250 m near a col at foot of the south ridge. In next four days, 16 pitches of ropes were fixed till about 6750 m. Two teams consisting of Japanese and Indian mountaineers worked together to push the route. Finally a team of 2 Japanese and one Indian (Lt Cdr S. Dam) started for the summit. However Dam had to drop out of the final attempt soon. Two Japanese in a long push of almost 11 hours of continuous climbing reached the summit. Both had previously climbed Nanga Parbat but rated this peak more difficult in many aspects than that famous ‘Killer mountain’. A team of Indians and Japanese (Motup Chewang, Rushad Nanavatty and Dr Oe (each of them had worked hard and reached high in preparing the final route) was poised to attempt the summit again in next two days but due to onset of bad weather for next few days plans had to be given up. This was the highest peak on the Teram Shehr Plateau and a major first ascent in the Siachen Glacier group after many years. 6. The team returned via the Siachen Glacier to the Nubra valley. This was the first international team to climb on this war-torn glacier since 1986. These were the first Japanese mountaineers to visit the glacier from the Indian side since the conflict on the Siachen Glacier began in 1984 (many Japanese teams had climbed on the Siachen Glacier between 1972-1983, approaching it from the west). Despite gathering war clouds between India and Pakistan while the expedition was on the mountains, the Indian army fully backed the team and at no point we were asked to stop or change route.

Elizabeth Hawley Felicitated

The Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival 2002 felicitated one of the most important figures for the climbing world. In 1960, six years after the first tourist came Nepal got its first full-time mountaineering correspondent in the form of a young American woman, Elizabeth Hawley. Hawley is still in Nepal 42 years later, and is a repository of every detail of every expedition mounted in the Himalaya in the last four decades. Hawley first came to Nepal as political correspondent but all this while, Hawley was also meeting returning expeditions gathering information while it was still fresh in climbers’ minds. Things have changed over the past decade or so; it is now considered mandatory for climbers to pay their respects to the 77-year-old Hawley. The developments in satellite technology and live coverage of climbing exploits have only strengthened Hawley’s work; she continues to be the person to assess the significance of a climb, put it in perspective.

Some time in the next year, Hawley will publish the fruit of her lifetime of meticulous interviews, reporting, and collecting information, a comprehensive volume she is putting together with the help of fellow American, computer expert and climber Richard Salisbury. Her life time work has filled-in a major need of information about the Himalaya in the Sub-Continent.

Ang Tsering Sherpa

On 22nd May 2002 climbing world lost a historical name when Ang Tsering, aged 97 years passed away at Darjeeling. He was perhaps the last person (member or Sherpa) alive from the 1924 Everest expedition – the last person to have climbed with Irvine and Mallory. He was 20 years of age then.

Another achievement in his life was the heroic deeds on the fateful German Nanga Parbat expedition of 1934. Ang Tsering was the sole survivor of a party of 4 German Sahibs and 5 Darjeeling Sherpas who were stranded at a high camp in a blizzard. As his companions died one by one he descended the face alone. ‘ When Ang Tsering came down to Camp IV barely alive, he told his simple and straight forward tale of tragic events took place at the heights. What suffering this loyal man had endured and what a super human achievement!’ remarked one of the members. In 1935 he was awarded the German Red Cross Medal. He was holder of the ‘Tiger’s Badge’ awarded by the Himalayan Club and witnessed climbing from its infancy till all the highest peaks were climbed – not from sidelines but participating in it.

Climb for Peace on the Siachen Glacier A group of four mountaineers from India and Pakistan (Harish Kapadia and Mandip Singh Soin from India and Nazir Sabir and Col Sher Khan from Pakistan) climbed peaks in Switzerland in response to a joint initiative of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) for a 'real' summit in the Jungfrau - Aletsch - Bietschhorn region which has recently been designated as the first UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in the Alps. Their aim was to promote mountain protection, cooperation and peace during the UN’s ‘International Year of the Mountains’. The flags of India and Pakistan, were hoisted together on three Swiss summits – anywhere perhaps after a long time ! It was specially hope of the climbers to give a call for the ‘Siachen Peace Park’, for peace on this long war-torn glacier where armies of India and Pakistan are fighting a high altitude war since 1984. This war has brought a major destruction of the environment, caused many deaths and injuries and has trapped some most beautiful mountain areas in conflict zone. As climbers stated, ‘On the entire climb our minds remained occupied with thinking of how often the people of India and Pakistan had been kept away from so much happening between them. It is such a tragedy that commonly enjoyed sport is not allowed between our two countries. Yet thankfully through such events there is hope to bring our two nations closer. Even the staunch enemies of the Cold War which divided the World have overcome old barriers and come closer together. The Berlin Wall was dismantled, so let us hope the psychological wall that exists between our people can also be dismantled and we can live like natural neighbours and friends.’ As mountaineers they have shown the way that it is hoped that others will follow to promote peace through sport and promote ‘peace zones’ as a means to overcome border disputes, protect mountain regions and the freedom to enjoy the mountains, particularly a peace zone for the Siachen Glacier