Pune, 21 September 2021: 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 6510 meter tall mountain in Uttarakhand. Youngest of the team Nikunj Shah played a crucial role of support member towards success of the expedition.
It was the first-ever successful expedition on Mt. Manda-1 from India and the only 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 witnessed seldom 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 the challenges like rockfalls, hard ice and snow coupled with crevasses and steep climbs of 70 to 80 degrees above the altitude of 5000 meters altitude.
The team reached the summit via the North ridge route which is considered 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 sight in the current trend of commercial and guided mountaineering expeditions.
Umesh Zirpe, the mentor of the team, who was 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 the 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. Coincidently, the first successful ascent on Bhrigu Parvat was also by the Giripremi team 30 years ago. Both the expeditions were successful due to the exceptional logistic support provided by White Magic Ltd.
The success of Mt. Manda-1 expedition was a remarkable feat achieved by the Giripremi as India celebrates its 75th Independence year. It is a matter of honour for Giripremi to hoist India’s tricolour on top of Mt. Manda I in India’s 75th Independence year. The team has been receiving accolades from all over the country.
“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 Indian Himalayas”, Zirpe added.