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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pole Pole Kilimanjaro

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

After Aconcagua Ascent: The Journey of my 7 summits

After Aconcagua ascent (Feb 8), I still could not get any financial support from anywhere expand from a band of friends. Though I had contemplated the diea of "Fastest 7 summits", my fincial constraints forced me to compromises for - 7 summits endeavor and hopefully, The First Indian.

I wanted to attempt Mt. Denali (Mc Kinley) between June/July which will be my 3rd among 7 summits. Denali 6194m, is highest mountain of N.America situated in the "Alaska Range". THis is notorious for hidden crevases. I had paid registered myself with American Alpine Institute, A company which offeres guided expedtions to Denali. I wanted to enhance my mountaineering skills, so I approached(March 3rd week) Nehru Institute of Mounatineering (NIM) Uttar Kashi for undertaking Advance Mountaineering Course. Those who acquire "A" grade in "Basic Mountaineering Course" are eligible for this. I am eligible. But I did this course from "Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports", Manali.
I approached NIM Principal Col Ashok Abbey requesting him to accommodate me for advance course. He said they don't accept people who had done basic from DMAS Manali. His opinion was that the experience of Basic Mountaineering course is sufficient to attempt Mt.Denali the tallest of N.America located in Alaska. I wonder why at all 'Advance Mountaineering courses ' are conducted Indian Mountaineering Institutes.

After this, in the 1st week of April, I met Capt. M.S. Kohli, Leader of First Indian Successful Everest Expedition 1965. He is one of the living legends in mountaineering. Instrumental in initiating several adventure activities in India and abroad. He was impressed at my SOLO ascent of Acacagua. He readily consented to write a letter recommending support from Ministry of Sprots, Govt. Of India, Inidian Mountaineering Foundation (I.M.F.) and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. I approached Ministry of Sprots, Youth affiars. Mrs. Vandana who looks after Youth Affairs under which Adventure sports/activities fall informed me that, Ministry of Sports doesn't support any ting outside India. My immediate reaction was - Then how do we Indians aspire for achieving significant/big? What is it all about - we Indians should dream big/ make our mark in the world? It was a very disappointing and demoralising experience.

Then, I went to IMF(Indian Mountaineering Foundation), which is an apex organization in India to support mountaineering activities. The IMF director said - I am impressed with your Cv and would like to keep a copy with himself. But said, we can't support your activity. Well, should feel elated that I won an admirer of my CV or feel sad at he response from IMF Director!?

I have explained this to Capt. M.S. Kohli. He could do nothing. I asked him to help me with visa for US. Th US Embassy consular section didn't bother to check any of the docs.. Capt. Kohli letter also didn't make any difference. I neither got visa for US nor was I able to get my money, that I paid towards Mt. Denali ascent back from American Alpine Institute.This was in the month of march(March 16). Then, I started for Gomukh alone. I forgot my troubles and enjoyed amidst the Himalayas. In Dharali I met a German climber. She attempted Mt. Elbrus, Russia in Winer with her boy friend. Unfortunately her boy friend had mihap and lost his life. Both of us, decided to trek upto Gomukh. There were a few avalanches between "Dharali" village and Gangotri, We gingerly crossed them and reached Gangotri. And then Gomukh. It was one of my very enjoyable treks. I prayed at Gomukh- "Gangotri maa, please give me the physical strength and solve my financial probs". I didn' know if my prayers were heard. But I had immense faith that they were.

After this, in the 2nd week of April (13th Apil) I left for Everest Base Camp Trek along with Sidhu, my IIM C batch mate and friend. I also wanted to attempt Island Peak(Imja Tse 6189m). We went upto Island peak base camp. I didn't climb as I didn't get permits. I tried to join one of the teams attempting.. But there weren't any vacancies. We had 10 days of memorable adventure whic satiated quest for Adventure, thrill and challenge.

In May: I trekked alone to Guichala. It didn't disappoint my adventure spirit.
I approached the alumni of IIM Calcutta to support my 7 summits endeavor. Prof. Anup sinha introduced me to Mr. Debasis Gupta. He too expressed intense enthu and the words of proudness flowed. I explained that I would like to attempt - "Fastest 7 summits". I said that I'll raise funds for Eevrest and you help me with raising remaining funds.
He told that, They will help me to open a bank account but I will have to put my plea personally to the alumni. This was in the month of August. If I have to go for Fastest 7 summits. I should leave India latest by December. I don't have any funds in my bank even in August. I complied to take the risk. Then in the last week of August, I was still following up so as to "create the account". And later I was unable to reach Mr. Debasis Gupta on his phone. September came. And There was no word of initiative from them to support but for creating Bank account. I can't rely on this and gave up! I was very determined to go for Everest and I couldn't give it up at anycost!
And my RIT batchmates educated me that: it's my own personal interest to do the 7summits. Good learning.

But fortunately, Samir kumar, Sidhu, Santhosh, Prashant Reddy and Srinija have joined me. We still didn't had funds for attempting Everest. We were conceiving several ideas and trying hard to raise funds. We were falling short of approx. 10,000 $. I decided to take debt from somebody and go for Everest.
My school (Sainik School) senior Lt. Uday Bhaskar lost his life on Everest near south col. He was with 1985 Indian Army Everest Expedition. six of them go stuck up in a snow storm in the death zone above 26,000ft. All of them succumbed to this tragediy. His statue was inaugurated in 1986 in our school. I was in my 7 class then. We grew up under his statute. And It is a feeling of proud for me to accomplish what my senor has set forward to achieve. I wanted to take my school flag, and his mementoes to the summit of Everest.

I mailed to my Sainik School Korukonda Alumni fondly appellated as "Saikorians" in the 2nd week of Septmber. I have also menioned that I am in need of financial support. After Ministry of Sports, IMF and IIM alumni experience. I didn't have much hopes fro my "saikorian" group also. But I knew we share very rare comradeship. I wanted to visit home so I have made plans to visit M.Uday Bhaskar Rao's brothers and my school.

In the last week of September I started for home and the news said that Adnhra was in the middle of Hurricane. I saw the villages devastated near Rajamandri while passing through the train. I became apprehensive about my village. It's on the bank of "Pinakini" River.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Everest Trek 2005 & Guicha la

Guicha la Trek
I had been to "Guicha la " trek alone. It was physically exhaustive one. Some refer to this as Kanchenjuga base camp trek. I was lucky to have very good views of the peaks-Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Siniolchu, Kabru, KumbhaKarna, Simvo, Narsing, Rathong etc.

Everest Trek:
I had been to Everest base camp and Chukung for the second time with my firend Sidhu.
It was enjoyable. find more details at

happy reading - malli

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

7SUMMITS INTERLUDE: Gomukh Winter Trek

7 summits Execution Alternation
While probing more abt 7 summits I learnt that the fastest 7 summits is 214days by Late Rob Hall and Gary Ball. When I went thru more details, I learnt that I can attempt to achieve 7summits in 165 days provided I garner the spons. I spoke to the head of NetIndial Link Ltd abt this, He is IIM C alumnus.(Mr.J.Krishnan). I also spoke to Jayaram Ashok who is head of IIM C Alumni chennai chapter. I revised the plan and wished to start 7summits from Jan 2006 and finish by July. I am very wary abt getting the spons so, I would act according to the availability of funds.
I think it's impossible to achieve 7 summits with out corporate spons unless some miracle happens. I wouldn't hesitate to attempt "solos" on ANY PEAK if that reduces my expenses substantially. But the project is a good learning for me. I am really happy to have taken this up..

Himalayan Training: (March 23- April 1st week, 2005)
I have been to Gangotri region to train myself in the Himalayas. Weather gods expressed grief at my decision and showered a few drops water with which the temperature took a negative scale. I managed to escape into the Himalayan waterfalls and do a few physical exercises on the river bed of Bhagirathi.
I was making the vedio of my exploits so that It would be easier to convey my 7summits dream to the "enthu-big heart" sponsors. I am beginning to feel that until the gods smile at you nothing will happen.

I was staying at "Dharali" 22KM before Gangotri. There were a few Avalanches after this village enroute Gangotri. So the last commutation facility ended here and the people had to walk on their feet.
On March 31st, I met "Inga Klein" from Germany. It was accidental, after exchanging a few verses I learnt that she was there on Elbrus but had a sad/bad incident. We trekked to Dharali 7 lakes (it's a big farce). I never saw 7 as claimed by the locals. Closest I saw was 4 and they are not at all impressive. But the walk thru pine forest and the snow fields doesn't disappoint you. I was impressed with her physical endurance and warmth.
I proposed for "Kedar Tal" trek above Gangotri. We stareted for it on APril 1st, the date that I desist to begin any activity.
Gomukh Trek:
We were stopped at Gangotri and harassed by the ppl claimed to be forest Authority. Kedar Tal was a horror and suicidal option(as they had made us convince) , so we were to take Gomukh option.
After bribing we were allowed to go to Gomukh with some advices.
We were relived to be trekking agian.
It was a three day trek and It was my Best Gomukh trek I ever had. The nature was awesome. We got to see the wild life. there were avalanches and the impeding rock fall made our guts hold all the time. The view of the Gomukh glacier from near was "majestic".
At the end I felt very happy to have gained a friend - Inga,. I hope she would forget the bad incident on Elbrus and come with me for Elbrus climbing. I had the best taste of western-Eastern mix of food. I had actually lazed out while she worked an extra hour to let me sleep more.

Adhoc schedule for near future:

April 10 -30 : Island peak 6189m & Everest Base camp adventure
June 7 - Juny17,2005: Denali Expedition.

thanks to all who helped/helping me and for sima specially. sima, Wish you good health and joyful days with "Naman"... was it just incidental that you ppl chose a paliandrome for your kid.


Sunday, February 20, 2005


Feb 8, Tuesday: SUMMIT DAY!

The couple woke up around 4AM and started their preparations for summit. I laid inside sleeping bag and tried to track their progress closing my eyes. They moved out by 6AM I guess. I kept telling myself not to worry and it’s feasible to do the summit even by starting at 10:00AM and I needed only 6hrs window. In between I kept peeping out of sleeping bag and observed day light. By 8 it was bright but cold. I crawled out of sleeping bag by 8am.

I started warming my socks, boots for nearly 30 minutes. Then I tried making water from the snow. I had some chocolates and tried eating the food that I made. I hardly had a few spoons before I gave up. By the time I am done with my preps for summit push It was nearly 9AM and seemed to be bright enough.

I took Indian flag, the Gangotri ma photo, chocolates and water bottle inside the mini day sack that I carried. I prayed god and left the Berlin huts hoping for a less detrimental cold. It was still very cold and I could feel the itching in my fingers and feet. I kept moving them inside the boots and gloves. I saw that the upper shoulders above Berlin were reflected with sun light. I thought if I reached there I am in the sun light and will be saved from Frost bite. I kept walking at a slow, steady and comfortable pace. I knew I just have to walk off from the camp and I would not stop until the summit.

I was experiencing bitter cold but it was not injurious. I kept walking up the white rocks. It was not very steep but a winding path upwards. I reached Indepencia in about 2 hrs. There was a broken hut there. There was Malaysian team having their rest or food at this place. I said hi to them and took right turn to cross the snow field there. I carefully started walking up on the snow patch. Then it was the traverse. There were chilly winds along the traverse. I didn’t feel any difficulty and was a bit curious inside myself about the notorious Canaleta. It was getting very cold with the chilly winds along the traverse. Though the summit was visible it was still a long way.

There was “Lithuania” team also trying for the summit. I had come in contact with the Lady of Lithuania team for the first along the traverse. We kept walking close. Then we reached the foot of Canaleta at 1:15PM. There were two people in front of us. They were trying to find the way along the Canaleta. Everyone knows about its difficulty. There was a big snow patch in the right side. I avoided that and walked just below it towards summit. I thought it’s another 2 hours for me to the summit and I was filled with the feeling of euphoria. I am going to finish two of my seven summits mission. I kept saying myself that two down and five to go.

Soon I realized how frustrating it is walking in the Canaleta. Every step that I took started sliding. After one hour I was struggling myself to walk continuously for five meters! I had to sum up in all my determination to cover a distance of five meters. Counting steps too didn’t help. I looked up summit appeared very near. But I was not sure if that’s going to end there. I observed the fellow climbers. They too were busy in their labor. I saw the Lithuania lady. She found a way along the Canaleta and seemed to handle better than me.

I kept walking along those big and small rocks. The two hours time that I kept elapsed and I was still in the Canaleta always appearing close to summit but climbing forever.

The doubt slowly started returning into my heart. Am I going to make it?

Will I faint in between? I kept close watch on my breath. I made it uniform and made up my mind to fight it. I stopped searching for a path and started climbing straight up along the rocks. Now I am on my four limbs. I crawled at some points and did rock climbing on some pitches. Finally I entered the area of big rocks just below the summit. It’s a patch slightly to the south of main summit. They were firm but posed a little difficulty. But I was comfortable scrambling over these rocks than handling the slippery loose rocks. I kept pushing up. After a few minutes I saw the Lithuania leader shouting that it’s another 5 minutes and pointed a snow patch just below the summit. To me it appeared too long so I kept pushing myself up the rocks and soon reached the top. I thought I reached summit.

I didn’t see an Alumnium Cross but a big Iron rod kind of thing! So this is not the summit. I just laid there.

Then I looked to my left. I saw the Lithuania team smiling. It’s just a minute walk from there to the real summit. I walked to them and laid beside the Aluminium Cross. It was 4:25P.M.

I smugly told my self 2 down 5 to go. And that was real!

I thought about friends and my mission. I felt happy and content to have achieved what I said as possible.

So I made it - the First Indian Solo climb of Aconcagua. I can say it as a First Indian unguided expedition. For one is not truly alone.

Slowly the achievement started sinking in and tears started to flow from the corner of my eyes.

I felt shy to let tears drop in front of people. I wiped them off and sat there. I sauntered on the summit. It is spacious. I took the pictures of the surroundings. Lithuania leader took my picture. I took pictures with Indian flag.

I thanked god and sat in silence for some time. Then all of us moved to descend. I was a little exhausted and feeling hungry too. So, I was not descending at my usual speed. I descended the pitches carefully and was taking rest in between. It was not an easy descend too. I was careful not to hurt myself and kept telling my self that It’s not over until I reach safely to the camp. Soon I finished Canaleta and then entered the traverse pitch. I overtook all of the Lithuania team. It seems they started for the summit at about 6:30AM. I felt happy that with my climbing standards I could see them talking with respect about India.

I soon crossed the traverse pitch and reached Independencia. I was feeling very comfortable and some how felt very energetic. I started descending quickly. Soon I was at white rocks. It’s possible to lose route from here. I kept walking with carefully noting the direction of Nido. I also kept observing the three huts at Berlin. I reached the cmap safely and was very happy.

I crawled into the hut and kept myself warming. I ate some chocolates and drank water. I laid in the sleeping bag. I looked at the time, it was 6:20PM.

Mountain Rangers had come at about 7:30PM. We greeted each other. I learnt that one climber was missing and they were searching for him. Then I could relate the presence of a mini aeroplane flying around 5:00PM when I was descending the Canaleta. We kept chatting inside the tent. Then after some time two porters had joined us. Then there was another English man who had come from Nido. We took some pictures. I talked to Aconcagua Adventures company and informed them to send porters to carry my bag from Berlin to base camp next day. I went to sleep around 10:00PM.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Leaving for Aconcagua Solo Attempt

Hi all,

I think, I am ready for making on a solo attempt on Aconcagua. I'm impressed at my rucksack packing. I have my flight at 1AM, will reach Milan around 6AM, next flight for Buenos Aires at 21:45hrs. I will be in Mendoza by 30th Jan. I Will take permits on 30/31 and start climbing from 1st Feb.

I would like to try it without a guide and a porter. I will inform from Mendoza, Argentina around 10th of Feb about the status..

. . . Malli

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Kilimanjaro , uhuru peak 5895 summited at 7am local (9:30AM, Indian)

Jan 15: I spent time with the IIT B friends with whom I had attended Basic mountaineering course. They gave me a warm send off with the touching notes... and reminders of learning from BMC.
I boarded Euthiopia Airlines at about mid night 12. I reached Addis Ababa at 3:15AM, local time and learnt that my connecting flight has left. So I was put up in Bole international hotel. I dumped my baggage and went out for a walk in the drizzle.
I boarded the flight for Kilimanjaro at 12:50 PM, It was 2 hrs flight to Kilimanjaro from Addis Ababa. I saw the Kilimanjaro peak in clouds from the plane window.

Jan16: Reached Springlands Hotel in Moshi town and was an hours distance from the foot of Africa's highest peak. I learnt that the company with which I booked the tour had swindled me.
I talked with the Zara Adventures and arranged for the Climb from Jan17. I booked for 6days climb, through Umbwe route. Many eye brows rose when I mentioned this route!

Jan17: I was introduced to my climbing guide, Mr.Dickson. He expressed his concern about me. I said I would take care of myself.

I had quick swim in the pool and started for Umbwe entrance. We started our trek by 2PM from the dense rain forest of Kilimanjao. We reached Umbwe Cave, 2747m the First camp on mountain by 6PM. I was at an altitude of Dharali, (a hamlet near "Gangotri" in India) , I thought.

Jan18: Umbwe Cave - Barranco (3950m)
We trekked out of the forest, It was not steep as previous day, but we had to handle a 15ft rock face. There were good holds. Soon the alpine zone started, We could see "Shira" ridge and "Meru" in distance. We reached Barranco in 4hrs. There were exotic plants and a few birds.
Here those coming from Machermo route join with Umbwe route. It felt like a caravan.
I could see Uhuru peak very close. I said to guide that I want to attempt the summit the next night.

Jan19: Barranco - Barafu(4600m)

There is a big wall that had to be climbed after barranco, then descend, it's a climb and descend for a few more times. We reached "Karanga" huts in tow hours. Then had snacks and water. There are buffalo bones displayed here. It seems they were 10yrs old. From Karanga the gradient reduces but the altitude takes. We started at about 8:30AM and reached Barafu by 1:15noon. I thought We were slightly above Tapovan(4450m) in Gangotri region. But I was feeling slight head ache due to quick ascent.

Jan20: 1:15 Started for the summit with guide.
After one hour I started vomiting. I kept walking, concentrating on breath and legs. It was very cold, if I stop I feared frostbite & hypothermia. I remembered my friends and what hopes they had for me.
I sat there and looked up at the stream of of torches inching their way up the mountain. There were good number of people who had started at 12:00. We reached them and overtook them. It was just going up and up. I stopped thinking about slope and was concerned only of my next step and breath.
started for the descent soon. We were at Barafu huts by 8:45AM. I took rest until 12:00. I was feeling relieved that I made my first summit.

By 2PM we descended to "Mweka", 3100m. It was a beautiful camp site. My vomiting didn't stop. I was asked if I wanted to stay, I said I can descend and want to make it to the entrance. We walked thru the dense forest of "Mweka" in the east side of mountain. Reached the park entrance by 4:30Pm and soon headed for the Springlands hotel.

We reached the hotel by 5:30PM. I quickly completed the formalities and enjoyed swim. I didn't feel exhausted though I haven't eaten almost any thing.

Jan 21,22 : Chilling out in the hotel, occassionally went into nearby fields. I was under strict observation for I used to slip out alone intoforests.

Jan23: Boarded flight from Kilimanjaro for Addis ababa at 19:20hrs.


Thank you all, subbu, Nishant, sima, khericha, souvik, peeyush, prasad, paras, partha 7 summits team.. and all the gutchians.

We have 6 to go now!