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Asia, India, Central Garhwal, Kamet (7756 m), New Route via the Northwest Ridge

Kamet (7,756m), new route via the northwest ridge. An eight-member Indian Navy expedition, employing Sherpas and High Altitude Porters, climbed both Kamet and neighboring Abi Gamin in the pre-monsoon period. We reached the road head at Ghamsali on May 18, and on the 23rd established base camp at 4,650m beside the frozen Vasundara Tal. We followed the Normal Route for both Kamet and Abi Gamin all the way to Meade’s Col (7,100m), which separates the two mountains. Camp 1 was established at 4,960m, Camp 2 at 5,360m, 3 at 6,050m, 4 at 6,650m and 5, which was first occupied on June 10, on the Col. The route thus far had some avalanche danger and the weather had not proved favorable. Camp 5 was cold and windy, with average daytime temperatures hovering around -15°C and winds gusting to 100 knots. To our south the massive northeast face of Kamet rose like a gigantic column of ice, snaking away beyond our vision into the azure. To our north, the south face of Abi Gamin looked a nice and easy proposition. However, on the col a severe blizzard continued unabated.

At 4 a.m. on the morning of the 11th visibility cleared and the wind dropped. Surg Lt Viking Bhanoo, LMA Rakesh Kumar, and Sherpa Sange Puri set out for the Normal Route up Abi Gamin (7,354m) and reached the summit around 7:30 a.m. After they returned to C4,I followed their tracks, alone, to the summit, reaching it around 12:30 p.m.

A little after midnight of June 12, Sherpas Ang Tashi and Purva left with me for Kamet. Purva had to descend soon due to mountain sickness. Ang Tashi and I traversed to the northwest ridge and summited after 14 hours of climbing, descending back to Camp 5 in the dark. This was the first ascent of the ridge. A day later, having started out at 3 a.m., Lt Cdr Abishek Kankan, Sange Puri, Mchera Rajkumar, and Samgyal reached the summit at 11:30 a.m. via the Normal Route up the northeast ridge. Everyone was back in base camp on the 15th, returning over a glacier that had now completely altered its appearance since we first arrived.

Commander Satyabrata Dam, Indian Navy and Himalayan Club.