The mountaineering activities in the state got a further boost with the successful participation of Vrinda Ramanan, a trained mountaineer of Tiruchi city, as a member of the all-women expedition team of the Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF), New Delhi that scaled Mount Srikantha in the Garhwal Himalaya last month. Mount Srikantha is at an elevation of 6,133 m.
The IMF, an apex body that promotes all mountaineering and rock-climbing activities in the country regularly organises mountaineering expeditious to peaks in the Himalayan ranges. It also conducts national and international climbing competitions.
The IMF last month organised an all-women expedition to Mount Srikantha. A total of eleven women from Uttarakhand, Shillong, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu participated in this event. Interestingly, J. Ramanan, husband of Vrinda Ramanan and also a trained mountaineer participated in the expedition as official photographer.
Sixty eight-year-old Chandraprabha Aitwal, a Padmashree and Arjuna awardee, was the leader of the expedition and she scaled this mountain a second time. Eight members along with three high altitude guides placed the National Flag atop the summit, after a month’s hard work on these slopes at 2 p.m. on August 25.
The road head was at Jangla, 20 kms before Gangotri. Four camps were set up before reaching the peak. The first base camp was at 12,928 feet. The next Advance Base camp was at 15,180 feet. Camp I was at a height of 17,050 feet. Camp II or the summit camp was at a height of 18,500 feet, according to Mrs. Ramanan.
The paths to these camps dangerously lay through steep slopes, rocks, boulders, moraine and ice on the true left side of the Dudu Glacier. The members had to gummer up on fixed ropes, the rocky and ice walls to reach Camp II from Camp I. The slope was about 85 degrees and hence 6.150 feet of rope had to be fixed and two climbing ropes had to be used to reach the icy summit of this mountain. This mountain requires great technical skills. To add to the adventure, there are a lot of crevasses which have to be cleverly negotiated before reaching the top, Mrs. Ramanan adds.
Mr. Ramanan is the president and Vrinda Ramanan, secretary of the Science and Adventure Club, Tiruchi, affiliated to the IMF.