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Asia, India—Garhwal, Mukut Parbat Attempt

Mukut Parbat Attempt. I led a Paratroopers expedition to Mukut Parbat (7242 meters, 23,760 feet) on the Indo-Tibetan border. The mountain had been climbed only once before, by New Zealanders in 1951. They climbed the northwest ridge from the Dakhni Chamrao Glacier. We were 20 climbers, mostly youngsters. Among them were Rupinder Singh Dhillon, M.K. Sorab, Adapa, Umed Singh, Dharam Singh, Arvind Sharma, Ravi Misra, Dr. J.S. Cheema, Sorab Gandhi, Jagdish Sharma and Jai Singh. From the roadhead at Mana village, we walked up the Saraswati Gad to beyond Ghastoli and then up the Pachmi Kämet Glacier. One porter died due to natural causes during the approach. This and rough going up the boulders of the moraine made many problems before we got to Base Camp at 5100 meters on the glacier on August 28. This was two kilometers higher than the Indo-French Kämet Base Camp of 1985. Camp II was placed at 5500 meters on September 3. We fixed 1200 meters of rope in a very steep, narrow gully, where we were exposed to rockfall, to emerge on the west ridge at 6800 meters on September 15. The ridge was knife-edged and windy. We made three summit attempts from Camp II between September 18 and 27, all defeated by high winds. Sorab and I made another attempt along the route of the first ascent and camped at 6100 meters. After waiting for 48 hours for better weather, intense cold defeated us at 6900 meters. Two 6000-meter peaks north of Base Camp were ascended.

Balwant Sandhu, Colonel, Indian Army, and Himalayan Club