Perspicacious Priyadarshi

Thoughts, Observations, Interpretations

Forget Cliffhanger and Vertical Limit.

Read this story. Snowcapped mountains appearing as if they are fresh out of the drycleaner. That’s the only beautiful part. Cliffs stooping like a predators, treacherous weather, sub-zero temperature, less oxygen, avalanches, frost-bites, arduous and energy-sucking tracks. At the summit, you cannot jive on a Bollywood melody there and take snaps to post on Orkut. One misstep, you will be dropped dead.It takes something extra to become the first Indian civilian to scale the toughest mountain in the Garhwal, Himalayas. A long treasured dream, a never dying spirit, love for mountains, teamwork, patience, dedication, and perseverance. A little extra is required in everything that takes to achieve something as mammoth as this one. My friend Rupesh Khopade just did it . >>

<Here’s a first person account by Rupesh Khopade. > 9th June 2007: Our adrenalin kept rushing upwards, heartbeats kept pounding faster and heavier, a feeling of joy and achievement was embracing us, as we were moving inch by inch towards the peak. As the time machines ticked 2.15 PM, we were at the top of the world with our feet firmly on the summit of Mt. Shivling, 6510 meters above sea level. We did it. As chilly winds blew, standing atop Shiva’s abode with a backdrop of snowcapped Himalayan ranges was a moment to cherish for life time. That was the moment we were waiting for the last two years.  Mt. Shivling, one of the world’s most beautiful and famous peaks, the towering sentinel to the Gangotri Glacier and the holy source of the River Ganges, is visited by number of climbers from all over the world every year. The technical difficulties involved during the journey and the dangers of avalanches during the ascent, give it the name — “Dream Mountain”. It becomes a forbidden fruit to even some of the best mountaineers of the world. It was a grand dream. A dream which was not only the tallest in our lives, but also extremely dangerous to realize. But we were stouthearts. After leaving Pune on 15 May, we established our base camp at Tapovan (4600 meters) on 21 May. It snowed heavily on 24th May (around 2ft). With such heavy snowfall there were chances of sliding and avalanches. Still we traveled to the advance base camp (ABC) on 25 May. Thereafter, as lady luck shined on us, the weather became favorable and we steadily progressed on our journey. We kept advancing from Camp1 to Camp 2, and finally the summit camp (4th June). The route from Camp 2 to Camp 3 was tough and treacherous. There were three stages of tough rock climbing (called as Chimney). At these stages there was a drop of 5,000ft. Any object dislodged from this point would have hit the ABC. No need to say what would happen thereafter. After the summit camp, climbing the “Ice Wall” was the toughest. It was a 300 ft. wall slightly overhanging (at 100 degrees). Taking on this portion at an altitude of 6000 meters was extremely difficult. At this altitude, because of the deficiency of oxygen in the environment, human efficiency goes down to 75%. Three days of tiring and exhaustive efforts opened the wall for us and ultimately we were on top of it. From the “Ice Wall” to summit was a ramp of ice of 70 degree gradient. Finally we reached the summit completely exhausted. The journey demanded excessive physical hardships and mental strength.During this expedition we faced various difficulties such as extreme cold conditions (subzero temperatures) in the morning and extreme hot (more than 45 degree Celsius) in the afternoon, low oxygen conditions, avalanches, heavy snowfall, etc. But with the blessings of the Almighty and well wishes of supporters we made it safely. There was heavy snowfall when we left the base camp. Rest of the days, the weather was clear and made favorable indications. In the Himalayan region, such a clear weather is a miracle and when we returned to the base camp again after summit, the whether started worsening. We find ourselves so lucky for such favorable conditions. Thank you God!  Rupesh is a member of PLM Services-Education (Courseware) team. Rupesh is a certified mountaineer from the prestigious Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, India.


  Saibal wrote @

Actually, I heard about your effort at Tapovan. Myself and my wife experienced havoc snowfall at Tapovan on 25th May night. We had a plan to trek to Nandanvan also, but we changed our plan and trekked down on the next day morning.
It’s nice to read about your successful ascent to His place!
Warm wishes

  Priyadarshi wrote @

Hi Saibal, thank you for sharing your experience. Actually it’s my colleague Rupsh Khopade, who has scaled this summit. I have passed your comments to him.

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