American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, India–Kumaon and Garhwal, Kalanag

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

Kalanag. Despite the fact that Kalanag was first climbed in 1957 and that there have been numerous ascents since, our group of Dartmouth students, with limited mountaineering experience, undertook its challenge. Inspired by Freshman Rupin Dang, son of Hari Dang, vice-president of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, the expedition was finally limited to ten members, nine men and one woman, picked not on our climbing ability but based on the amount of time we were willing to commit to planning. In addition to Indian Rupin Dang, we were Americans James Ziobro, Tom Douglas, Ashley Campion, Matt Valentine, Joel Brenner, Jens Voges, Joe Bachman and I and Norwegian Odd-Even Bustnes. In India we were joined by several Indians. We were initiated to the terrors of Indian driving in the bus ride to the roadhead at Shankri. Finally on June 16, we were all together at Base Camp atKiarkoti at 13,200 feet. A forward party had already established Advance Base at 15,500 feet. Our route traversed the bases of the Swargarohini peaks of the Banderpunch range, following the Kalanag Glacier west and then south. On June 18, we established Camp I, the first one on snow, at 16,500 feet. Fearing poor weather, we were forced to make our ascent more quickly than planned. Rather than ferrying loads to higher camps and descending to sleep, we spent only one day at each camp, allowing four days from Base Camp to summit. On June 19, Team 1 left Base Camp with Team 2 to follow a day behind. Camp II was occupied on June 21 at 18,500 feet, 1000 feet below the north col. June 22 was the first summit day. Ziobro, Bustnes, Douglas and I, led by Indians Kushal Singh Negi, Himraj Dang and Bachan Singh Pawar, left Camp II at 3:30 A.M., taking advantage of clear weather and hard snow. Although the 19,500-foot col was reached in two hours of steady walking up the 30° slope, the ascent to the summit (6387 meters, 20,956 feet) was delayed until nine A.M. by a difficult final pitch with a a 50° to 60° approach to the summit cornice. On June 23, Team 2 headed from Camp II for the summit. As the group tackled the final 1000 feet, the winds became fierce. Ashley Campion and Indian Bachan Singh Pawar climbed the final pitch unbelayed and reached the summit at eleven A.M. Rupin Dang, Joel Brenner and Jens Voges, suffering from altitude and fearing frostbite, descended. Joe Bachman and Indian D. Arun Kumar waited for the first rope to come down and then reached the summit at 11:30. On June 24, the entire expedition was again together at Base Camp.

Harry Midgley, Dartmouth Outing Club

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