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Alpine-style mountaineering expedition called off just 4 days before U’khand tragedy

Expedition members claimed that the decision was taken because of avalanches and deteriorating weather probably due to western disturbances.

Written by Saurabh Parashar | Chandigarh |
February 11, 2021 10:22:28 am
Three experienced mountaineers, who had started ascending the Mt Trishul on January 27, had observed the formation of strong Mountain Jet when they were in the mid of Camp 1 and Camp 2. They decided to descend and did not stop at Camp 1. (Representational)

The first ever winter climbing mountaineering expedition in Alpine style on Mount Trishul in district Chamoli was called off from between Camp 1 and Camp 2 merely four days before the Tapovan tragedy in Uttarakhand. Expedition members claimed that the decision was taken because of avalanches and deteriorating weather probably due to western disturbances.

Mt Trishual is a group of three Himalayan peaks which form shape of a trident. The largest peak is 7,120 m (23,359ft). These three peaks located in the district Chamoli. The first assent here in dates back to 1907 by the British mountaineer Tom Georage Longstaff.

Three experienced mountaineers, who had started ascending the Mt Trishul on January 27, had observed the formation of strong Mountain Jet (a type of jet stream created by surface winds through mountain passes causing high speed winds and drastic temperature change) when they were in the mid of Camp 1 and Camp 2. They decided to descend and did not stop at Camp 1.

“We had started observing avalanches in far away mountains located in Nanda Devi sanctuary, which also hosts Mt Trishul, from the starting point Homkund. Four to five avalanches being observed every day is a routine during winters. But the Mountain Jet formation was so strong that we decided to call off the expedition between Camp 1 and Camp 2. We decided to descend non-stop on February 3. By February 5, we were at starting point Homkund. After two days, we heard about the Tapovan tragedy. Though Tapovan and Mount Trishul are located in different regions, the area is by and large is same in Chamoli district of Garhwal,” mountaineer Arjun Vajpayee, who was leading the expedition, told The Indian Express over phone. He was one of the youngest Indians to climb Mount Everest at the age of 16 years in 2010.

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The other two expedition members were mountaineer Mohammed Ali and Parth Upadhyaya.

Parth Upadhyaya said, “We had gained the height of at least 5,100 mts when we observed the Jet formation most probably due to the western disturbance. We decided to call off the expedition when we came down to base camp from Camp 1. And now I realise that our decision to call off the expedition was not wrong.”

Upadhyaya has been into mountaineering for past seven years. Last year, he had climbed the Mt Everest.

Brigadier Ashok Abbey, president, Indian Mountaineering Expedition (IMF), said, “As I was informed about the formation of strong Mountain Jets and bad weather over Peak 1 of the Mount Trishul, I advised them to call off the expedition. I was in the touch of expedition team through Sanjiv Vajpai, who was coordinating with the team through satellite phone.”

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