Indian team scales Mt Manda-1 from North Ridge for the first time
(L to R) Standing: Ruturaj Agawane, Ankit Sohoni and Anand Mali. Sitting: Varun Bhagwat and Rohan Desai

Indian team scales Mt Manda-1 from North Ridge for the first time

New Delhi, September 21, 2021

A team from Giripremi, the well-known mountaineering club based in Pune, Maharashtra, achieved a remarkable feat in the history of Indian mountaineering on September 18.

The team's Dr. Sumeet Mandale, Vivek Shivade and Pawan Hadole along with Mingam Sherpa and Nim Dorje Sherpa wrote a new chapter in the history of Indian mountaineering as they scaled Mt. Manda-1, a 6,510-metre tall mountain.

It was the first ever successful expedition on Mt. Manda-1 from India and only the second successful expedition after the Japanese expedition in 1984 from the North Ridge Route.

The expedition was led by Anand Mali and mentored by Umesh Zirpe, a veteran mountaineer of Giripremi.

Mt. Manda-1 is one of the three peaks of the Manda group located in Kedar Ganga Valley. It is one of the most challenging peaks in the Indian Himalayas and has seldom witnessed climbing expeditions.

Giripremi teams had tried climbing the mountain in 1989 and 1991 but couldn’t reach the summit. After a long wait of 32 years, Giripremi’s younger generation of mountaineers managed to scale the mountain after battling challenges like rock falls, hard ice and snow coupled with crevasses and steep climb of 70 to 80 degrees above the altitude of 5000 meters altitude.

The team reached the summit via the North ridge which is considered as a knife edge route where climbing gets difficult due to the narrow corniced ridge at the top and steep slopes running down in the valley.

Giripremi’s team showed exemplary skills to tackle the challenges to summit the peak after more than three decades. Interestingly, the climbers also did route opening and rope fixing along with Sherpas. This is a rare site in the current trend of commercial and guided mountaineering expeditions.

(L to R) Pawan Hadole, Sumit Mandale, Vivek Shivade
(L to R) Pawan Hadole, Sumit Mandale, Vivek Shivade

Zirpe, the mentor of the team, stationed at the base camp monitoring the expedition, was jubilant after the successful climb. He was a part of two unsuccessful attempts on Mt. Manda-1 in 1989 and 1991.

Climbing this elusive peak was one of his dreams which came to fruition after 32 long years. He said, “Mt.Manda-1 is a challenging mountain. It challenges the mountaineer on different levels. Reaching the summit of Mt. Manda-1 marks a historic moment in Indian mountaineering history as the first successful ascent from this difficult North Ridge.”

Along with Mt. Manda-1, Giripremi’s team consisting of Anand Mali, Varun Bhagwat, Ruturaj Agawane, Ankit Sohoni and Rohan Desai climbed Mt. Bhrigu Parvat (6041 M) on September 13, 2021. Coincidentally, the first successful ascent on Bhrigu Parvat was also by Giripremi team 30 years ago. Both the expeditions were successful due to the exceptional logistic support provided by White Magic Ltd.

“In 1989, I led the unsuccessful expedition to Mt. Manda-1 and was part of another unsuccessful attempt in 1991. I understand the challenges Mt. Manda-1 possess. In my opinion, Mt. Manda-1 is as challenging as Mt. Everest or Mt. Kanchenjunga. The unpredictable weather, steep climb, narrow ridge, uncertainty of rock falls, ice falls and crevices make the climb difficult. It gives me immense joy seeing Giripremi’s young mountaineers reaching the summit of Mt Manda-1. The success of Mt. Manda-1 is a pivotal moment in the history of mountaineering in India. It instils the confidence in mountaineers to take on the difficult challenges in the Indian Himalayas,” Zirpe added.


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