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Asia, India, Banderpunch, Black Peak

Kamet and Abi Gamin. An all-Indian expedition made a remarkable record in Garhwal in 1955, accomplishing the second ascent of Kamet (25,447 feet) and the third ascent of Abi Gamin (24,130 feet). The party under the direction of Major Narendra D. Jayal, who is the principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, was made up of 10 climbers and five Sherpa Instructors. After an unsuccessful try on June 28, Jayal, Ang Tharkay, Da Namgyal, Ang Temba, and Hlakpa Dorje made the summit from Camp 5 (23,400 feet) near Meade’s Col on July 6. The route differed from that used on Frank S. Smythe’s first ascent up the northeast face; this year the climbers followed the ridge that links Abi Gamin with Kamet. On the same day a party under Gurdial Singh climbed Abi Gamin, using Jayal’s 1953 route. The Anglo-Swiss first ascent of 1950 was from the Tibetan side.

Bander punch, Black Peak. J. M. Gibson again led an expedition in 1955 into the Banderpunch Group in Tehri Garhwal, where he has climbed and explored so often. In 1950 he was with the party that climbed the 20,720-foot White Peak (Banderpunch II). In 1952 and 1953 he approached the group from the northwest and in the second year climbed to 100 feet below the summit of the Black Peak (20,956 feet), the highest peak in the range, before being turned back by storm. What makes Gibson’s recent expeditions remarkable is that all his climbing companions are school boys from the Doon School, Debra Dun, or from Mayo College, Ajmer. Last summer they again approached the mountains past Oshla on the Tons River. Base camp was below the Banderpunch Glacier, which descends westward past the Banderpunch Peaks on the south and 20,545- foot Sugnalin on the north. Immediately Jagjit, fresh from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and restricted in time, attacked the Black Peak with Sherpas Passang and Cheten. On May 29 while the other boys acclimatized themselves skiing, they made a summit try but failed in deep snow 400 feet from the top. On June 7 Gibson and the two Sherpas left Camp 3 at 19,000 feet and made the first ascent of the mountain. Unfortunately, none of the boys was yet fit to accompany them from the high camp. In deteriorating weather and in cold powder snow covered with breakable wind crust, the three reached the summit after a three and a half hour climb. On June 11 two boys, identified by Gibson only as Chicky and Winston, with Sherpa Cheten climbed the 18,020-foot peak south of the point where the Banderpunch Glacier turns westward. The next day Gibson, with a boy whom Gibson calls Don, climbed the 18,000-foot peak north of the pass to Harsil on the Sugnalin ridge above the Banderpunch.