HMI traverses Mt. Kanyatse range, creates record

14 Sep 2018

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling has created a record, becoming the first expedition team to traverse the massif of Mt. Kanyatse range in Ladakh.
The HMI successfully completed the month long expedition between Mt. Kanyatse I and II that started on August 1. On Friday, the institute organized a flag-in ceremony conducted by Principal Secretary of West Bengal Youth and Sports Department Sayed Ahmad Baba.
Two teams comprising nine members each made the summits on Kanyatse I and II at heights of 6400 and 6247 metres, respectively, in the Markha Valley on August 17. The expedition which was an Alpine style one was led by Wing Commander Devidutta Panda, also the principal of HMI, and comprised instructors of the institute.
Pawel Sharma, who traversed the two peaks along with two others for the first time, said it was exhilarating and a proud moment to accomplice what others had so far failed to do. “I know that some Italians, Russians and Germans had attempted to traverse between Mt. Kanyatse 1 and II before. But they failed. I am happy that we were the first to do the traverse,” he said.
What makes traversing difficult in Mt. Kanyatse peaks is that the ridge has a zagged nature and comprises of solid ice, loose stones and scree. “The distance between the two peak is around 1.7 kms but the nature of the slope with steep gradients and loose stones and solid ice make it difficult to traverse. It took us six hours to complete. One must have mountain climbing skills and experience along with guts;
otherwise it is suicidal,” said Sharma who has climbed Mt. Everest and Makalu with HMI expeditions. Initially, the team had planned to criss-cross after making their respective summits. However, windy condition and zero visibility factored in the team leader abandoning the earlier plan.
Panda expressed gratitude to the team members for working together to complete a successful expedition. “It was a tough climb. We worked as a cohesive unit. The members were cordial and helpful to each other. This was the reason the expedition was successful,” the HMI principal said. The planned budget for the expedition was Rs.13 lakh but the actual expenditure incurred was Rs.12.36 lakh.
For the moment the institute is concentrating in two new courses for students. A decision to take on fresh challenges will be taken after the completion of the course. Tenzing Norgay Sherpa who also worked as chief field instructor after the establishment of the HMI was the first to summit Mt. Everest in 1953, along with Edmund Hillary. (EOIC)