Overview of foreign expeditions. There was a marginal increase in the number of foreign expeditions to the Indian Himalaya—40 teams compared to 35 teams that climbed last year. The Ladakh area received 14 expeditions, mostly to the Nun-Kun massif and many to Stok Kangri—an easy walk-up to 6,000m opposite Leh. Stok Kangri now has the reputation of being the most climbed 6,000m peak in the world!
The Kumaon Range received five teams and the best climbs were achieved here. Martin Moran (UK) continued his love affair with the Indian Himalaya and made a fine ascent of Chiring We (6,559m), last climbed 25 years ago. The British climbed Adi Kailash and made a ascent nearby. Saf Minal (6,911m), on the edge of the Northern Nanda Devi Sanctuary, was climbed by an American-British team. The ascent, by a new route, came after a long gap, last having been climbed by a Japanese team in 1975.
The Gangotri area continued to remain most popular, with 10 teams climbing there, and the adjoining Garhwal received six teams. Peaks like Thalay Sagar, Arwa Spire, and Bhagirathi continued to attract mountaineers.
Lastly, in the Himachal Pradesh easy peaks like Manali Peak, Friendship, and KR group were climbed several times. Several teams climbed in the Miyar Nala of Lahaul. An Indo-British team trekked in the relatively unknown areas of the Pangi valleys of Lahaul. Visiting less- frequented valleys, they crossed high passes and brought back memorable photos as reference for future climbers.
Overview of Indian expeditions. A total of 65 expeditions from India climbed in the mountains. West Bengal led in numbers with 42 teams, followed by 10 teams from Maharashtra. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation organized four expeditions (two all women teams). Uttaranchal received 35 teams, followed by the Himachal Pradesh with 26, Ladakh with three, and Sikkim with one.
The major event for the Indian Himalaya was exploration of the Tsangpo-Siang Bend from the southern approaches. A team of three Indians made a route through thick forest of the Arunachal Pradesh and reached the Line of Control between India and China, where the Tsangpo enters India to be called the Siang. The same river is called Brahmaputra as it flows into the plains of Assam. The full exploration of the Tsangpo gorge was thus completed.
An Indian army team climbed Kangchenjunga from Nepal and flagged off the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the first ascent of the peak to be held in 2005.
Harish Kapadia, Honorary Editor, The Himalayan Journal