Ten members of a mountaineering club from Pune in Maharashtra Wednesday summitted the 8,586- metre Mount Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak.
With this, the club members have summitted seven peaks, including the world’s highest Mt Everest, in the list of 14 mountains that rise above the formidable altitude of 8,000 metres.
The Giripremi Kangchenjunga Eco Expedition team left Pune on March 31 and reached the Nepal-side base camp of the peak on April 15. The main peak is close to the Indian border with Nepal.
“They reached Camp 4, the summit camp, Tuesday evening. After a bit of rest, they set out for the summit and reached the top at 5.30 am on Wednesday,” the club’s vice president, Chandan Chavan, told PTI.
There were other climbers, including five Indians and few foreigners, who were at Camp 4 to attempt the summit, Chavan said, adding most of them would also have reached the top.
This is the first ascent of the peak this season, and the maiden summit in two years.
A team of six high altitude sherpas, the lifelines of mountaineers who assist in such climbs, laid the fixed rope to “open the route” on Tuesday, which was used by the climbers, he said.
Earlier, a team of mountaineers from the state attempted the peak in 1988 and even crossed the 8,000-metre level.
Hrishikesh Yadav, a climbing member of the 1988 team who went on to lead India’s first successful civilian climb of the Mt Everest in 1998, congratulated those who reached the Mt Kangchenjunga peak on Wednesday.
“The final portion is very technical with rocky patches and a real challenge for mountaineers. This peak is definitely more difficult than the Everest,” he said, adding that it is also a long climb from the summit camp.
Giripremi’s achievement under its leader Umesh Zirpe will help in popularising mountaineering in India and should also hopefully take people to other peaks beyond the glamour of Mt Everest, he added.
The Kangchenjunga summiteers from Giripremi are Ashish Mane, Rupesh Khopde, Bhushan Harshe, Anand Mali, Prasad Joshi, Krishna Dhokle, Sumit Mandle, Vivek Shivde, Kiran Salastekar and Jitendra Gaware, Chavan said.
The club earlier ran a successful crowd-funding campaign to raise Rs 2.25 crore required for the expedition.
It built it up as an environment-friendly expedition and also planned a clean-up along the climbing route and some of the 120-odd glaciers in the vicinity.