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Maharashtra’s first civil team to scale Mount Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga expedition will be more challenging than Mt Everest, says Giripremi Institute’s Umesh Zirpe, who is planning civil expedition in 2019

pune Updated: Feb 04, 2018 21:59 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Maharashtra,Mount Kanchenjunga
Located in the eastern Himalayas on the border of Nepal and India, this 8596 m peak is considered as one of the most challenging peaks in the Himalayas. (HT PHOTO)

Mount Kanchenjunga is world’s third highest peak after Mount Everest and Mount K2.

Located in the eastern Himalayas on the border of Nepal and India, this 8596 m peak is considered as one of the most challenging peaks in the Himalayas.

Pune’s Giripremi Institute is now planning to take on this mammoth task and is gearing up for India’s biggest civil expedition to the peak in 2019.

“We believe this is going to be more challenging expedition than our Mt Everest expedition in 2012. As Mt Everest is quite popular amongst trekkers all over the world, it has all logistics and other rescue modes available.

“On the other hand, Kanchenjunga is in a remote place near Sikkim and due to fewer expeditions, it’s difficult to handle the logistics,” said Umesh Zirpe, expedition leader of Girpremi.

“Not just logistics, but in the mountaineering world, Kanchenjunga is considered one of the toughest peaks to climb. There are more than 120 glaciers on the route which make climbing tougher.

“Despite improved climbing gear the fatality rate of climbers attempting to summit Kanchenjunga is high,” he added.

Elaborating, Zirpe said, “The last patch to the summit is difficult but most challenging will be the route between Camp 1 and Camp 2.

“This is an avalanche-prone area and most deaths are registered here. As we can’t control the natural phenomena, we have studied the recent incidents and have kept track of past records and came to the conclusion that if we would cross the area in the early hours of the day, we might get safe passage. As the day progresses, the avalanche risk increases.”

This journey of the ‘Giripremi 8000er Club’ started with successful expeditions to Mt. Everest in 2012, followed by Mt. Lhotse (4th highest) in 2013, Mt. Makalu (5th highest) in 2014, Mt. Cho Oyu (6th highest) in 2016, Mt. Dhaulagiri (7th highest) in 2016 followed by Mt. Manaslu (8th highest), this year.

Now they aim to add another feather in their cap after the success of Kanchenjunga. In the process, they will be the first civil team from Maharashtra to scale the peak.

Earlier in 1988, Mumbai’s Girivihar Trekking Institute had tried to scale Kanchenjunga, however, they lost their team member Sanjay Borhale during the expedition and were forced to return back. After that, not a single expedition has been organised to Kanchenjunga from Maharashtra.

“This won’t be just a climbing expedition, but we are planning to make it an environment-friendly expedition.

“As a part of the expedition, the cleaning of the route of the peak and glaciers will be undertaken. Kanchenjunga is surrounded by more than 120 glaciers. Cleaning and conserving such glaciers is the need of the hour. In addition, Giripremi’s mountaineers have planned to study the biodiversity of the Kanchenjunga region,” said trekker Ashish Mane.

First Published: Feb 04, 2018 21:57 IST