Ladies writes new chapter in history of mountaineering

Ladies writes new chapter in history of mountaineering in India

It was the first successful ‘team expedition of women’ from Maharashtra since 1984

Credit: Giripremi photo

Writing a new chapter in the history of adventure sports in India as lady mountaineers from Pune-based club, Giripremi, scaled two six-thousand meters mountain named Kang Yatse 1 and Kang Yatse 2 in the first week of August.

The two mountains are in the Ladakh region of the Himalayan ranges.

It was the first successful ‘team expedition of women’ from Maharashtra since 1984.

Priyanka Chinchorkar, Smita Karivadikar, Padmja Dhanvi, Sneha Gude, Sayali Budhkar, Anjali Katre participated in the dual expedition.

The team was trained under Samiran Kolhe who also participated in the expedition.

Umesh Zirpe, renowned mountaineer and Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Awardee, has been mentoring the women's team for the last two years. “It is a proud moment for us,” said Zirpe, a veteran expedition leader and President of Akhil Maharashtra Giryarohan Mahasangh.

“The success of Kang Yatse 1 and Kang Yatse 2 is a great beginning. Now onwards, women expedition should be a norm and not a rarity. Women have the capabilities and enthusiasm needed for a mountaineer. In my opinion, institutes and clubs couldn’t spot this all these years,” said Ushaprabha Page, Founder-President, Giripremi, who is considered the pioneer of women’s mountaineering expeditions in India.

The first team consisting of Priyanka Chinchorkar and Smita Karivadikar summitted Kang Yatse-1 (6494 M), one of the most difficult peaks to climb, in unfavourable weather. The duo was accompanied by Samiran Kolhe, who also summitted the  mountain on August 2.

The other team consisting of Padmja Dhanavi, Sneha Gude, Sayali Budhkar and Anjali Katre summitted Kang Yatse-2 (6270 M). Anjali Katre is a 51-year-old mountaineer who has shown us that age is just a number.

Meanwhile, Padmaja couldn’t summit the peak in the first attempt. She had to return to the base camp due to the severe weather conditions. She missed the summit by just 200 meters in the first attempt. However, she didn’t give up. After consulting the team members, trainer and the mentor, she planned the second attempt on August 4 and 5.

Priyanka, the expedition leader, accompanied her and both mountaineers summit the peak on August 5.

Mingma Sherpa, Sanjiv Roy, Ming Temba Sherpa and Sunny Sharma, the team of high-altitude guides, supported the expedition, whereas White Magic provided the critical logistic support.

Kang Yatse group of peaks is located at the far end of Markha Valley in Ladakh. Kang Yatse-1 stands tall with 6494 meters height, whereas Kang Yatse-2 has 6270 meters altitude. Kang Yatse-1 peak is considered as one of the toughest peaks to climb.

Most of the climbing route has loose rocksand steep climb is exhausting and tests the ability of climbers. 550-meter-long stretch from Camp 2 to Summit challenges the climbers as there are 15 to 20 ice walls positioned in 70 to 80 degrees angle. Giripremi’s team of determined mountaineers overwhelmed all the challenges to reach the summit.

“The Himalayan peaks will prove a pivotal change in Indian mountaineering fraternity. Giripremi’s initiative to build a strong team of women mountaineers is established as one of the successful experiments in Indian mountaineering,” said Zirpe.

Added Zirpe: “Just after the announcement of the dual expedition, we witnessed the devastating Corona pandemic. In this difficult time, getting together and preparing for the dual expedition was near to impossible. Hence, we followed the digital route. Giripremi set up Gurukul for women mountaineers only. Sanjay Sathe helped the team in mental fitness with the Brahmavidya session, whereas Samiran Kolhe looked after the physical fitness. I was constantly monitoring the progress and I am glad to share that more 15 women mountaineers participated in Gurukul who all are ready to face the challenge of mighty Himalaya.”