Breaking away from the tradition, regulatory body for national and international mountaineering expeditions has granted permission for a winter climbing expedition to Mount Trishul, a 7,120-metre peak in western Kumaon of Uttarakhand.
The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has granted a nod to a three-member team of mountaineers led by Arjun Vajpayee, the youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest at the age of 16 years in 2010. His two other teammates are mountaineer Mohammed Ali and Parth Upadhyaya.
The expedition is scheduled to commence on January 25.
Mount Trishul is a group of three Himalayan peaks which form the shape of a trident. The highest among them is Mount Trishul. It was first scaled in 1907 by British mountaineer Tom Georage Longstaff.
Sources said, “In India, mountaineering expeditions are taken up in pre and post-monsoon period and during summer. Winter mountaineering has very few takers. The IMF recently decided to allow winter mountaineering expeditions. The permission was given in this context.”
IMF president Brigadier Ashok Abbey, said, “The IMF is encouraging Indian mountaineers to follow the concept of winter mountaineering. The pre-monsoon and post-monsoon expeditions on the high mountains are normal. There is now awakening among Indians to adopt winter mountaineering and climbing. This is the first time we have have allowed a winter expedition to Mount Trishul, which turns into one of the toughest and challenging peaks during winter. We want to promote the concept of winter mountaineering. Besides this expedition, two training camps focusing on winter climbing are going on at National Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi, and National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS), Arunachal Pradesh.”
Mount Trishul can be assessed from the side of Nanda Devi Sanctuary, which is closed these days due to harsh winter and heavy snowfall. Hence, the expedition team will take a route from Almora, Kausani, Bedini Bugyal, and Roopkund.
Arjun Vajpai said that soon after he came to know that the IMF was promoting winter climbing, he applied for an expedition and got approval. “There are two motives behind this expedition. First, to break the stereotype that Indian mountaineers do not do winter mountaineering; and second, to acclimatize ourselves for the next two solo expeditions to Mount Annapurana and Mount Everest.”
Sources said the expedition was allowed on some specific conditions including compliance of all guidelines related to Covid-19 and maximum insurance of Rs 5 lakh for each expedition team members. The IMF will not be responsible for any misdemeanor/misconduct/mishap. The expedition leader shall be responsible for safety and evacuation in case of any accident.