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AUTUMN 2017: HIMALAYAN CLIMB


TRISUL (7120m)

15th Sept - 15th Oct 2017

EXPEDITION DOSSIER

One of the greatest peaks of Uttarakhand, Trisul forms a giant shield protecting the western rim of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Together with the two subsidiary tops on its south ridge, Trisul makes a supremely graceful trident of summits in views from the foothills, representing Lord Shiva’s symbol of power. The mountain was the first 7000m peak in the world to be climbed. Longstaff’s ascent in 1907 was an important milestone in the development of Himalayan mountaineering.

Our expedition will attempt an ascent of Trisul by the West Ridge which is the standard route nowadays. The climb has been ascended a handful of times since it was opened in 1976, most recently by 13 members of an Indian Army team in 2013. The climb is a major expedition objective with as many as four camps between base and summit. The technical difficulties are all on snow and ice, with slopes of 50-60deg on the steepest section between 6000 and 6500m. As well as having a UK mountain guide as your leader we will use Sherpas to help establish high camps and to fix ropes and belays on the steep sections.
Alongside Trisul is the attractive peak of Nanda Ghunti (6309m) which is climbed from the same base camp and offers an excellent second choice in event that Trisul summit cannot be reached. There are three existing route options on Nanda Ghunti plus a new route opportunity. We climbed Nanda Ghunti on our 2001 expedition to the area.
The approach to Trisul up the Nandakini valley is a beautiful forested trek and the wider area offers many classic trekking routes, such as Roop Kund and the Kuari Pass. 

Members of the team should have a substantial range of mountaineering and alpine experience with previous climbs to altitudes of 5000-6000m and technical confidence on water ice level WI3+ or Scottish grade III. Determination and fitness will be tested on this mountain, which is one of the most sought objectives in the Indian Himalaya.

Trisul viewed from the slopes of Nanda Ghunti – the Ronti shelf is in sunlight and the upper West Ridge in profile; Camp III is placed close to the knoll at the top of the shelf

Outline Itinerary
Fri 15th Sept:  Daytime flights to Delhi or overnight flight arr Delhi Sat am; check in to Delhi hotel
Sat 16th Sept: Completion of administrative formalities with Indian Mountaineering Foundation and final packing; stay in Delhi hotel
Sun 17th Sept:  Early morning train from Delhi to Haridwar – the gateway city to the Himalayan foothills; transfer to bus for 80km journey up Ganges and Alaknanda valleys to Srinagar; stay at hotel
Mon 18th Sept:  Bus journey via Rudraprayag and Karnprayag, turning east up Nandakini valley to road-head at Sitel (1900m); camp and meet porters for base camp trek.  
Tues 19th Sept:  Trek Sitel to Sutol (2192m), 12km – beautiful forested valley scenery; camp by river at Sutol.
Wed 20th Sept:  Trek from Sutol up Nandakini valley to forest camp in clearing at Lata Kopri (3050m), 12km – magnificent native forest on traversing trail.
Thurs 21st Sept: Trek from Lata Kopri out of the forest to Chandniya Ghat (3700m), 9km
Fri 22nd Sept:  Short trek from Chandniya Ghat to base camp at 4350m below Hom Kund (lake); set up camp and discharge porters
Sat-Sun 23rd–24th Sept: Acclimatisation and load ferries to advance base camp-site above Hom Kund at 4750m; Sherpas-high-altitude porters push route up snow/scree couloir to Camp I on Ronti Glacier shelf at 5250m
Mon-Wed 25th–27th Sept: Team move up to Camp I at 5250m and carry load to Camp II at 5700m or Camp III sites; two nights’ spent sleeping above 5200m.
Thurs-Sat 28th–30th Sept: Guides push route and Sherpas load-ferry to Camps II and III at 5700m and 6100m at top of Ronti shelf below upper W Ridge of Trisul. Team members return to base camp for rest after two night’s acclimatisation. Exceptionally, fit members may move straight up to Camp II.
Sun 1st–Wed 4th Oct: Team moves back to Camp I and on to Camp II; Sherpas-Guides fix route on upper W Ridge with anchors and fixed rope as necessary on 45-55? slopes, and establish an alpine-style Camp IV at c6500m on West Ridge.
Thurs 5th-Tues 10th Oct: Summit attempts using Camp IV/bivouac at 6500m.
Wed 11th Oct: Camps and ropes cleared and all members return to base camp
Thurs 12th Oct: Trek out to Sutol village; 25km on good trail; camp or stay at local schoolhouse
Fri 13th Oct: Trek Sutol to Sitel – meet minibus transport and drive to Srinagar
Sat 14th Oct: Drive Srinagar to Delhi (12hr); stay in hotel
Sun 15th June: Daytime flights home (or overnight Sun-Mon).

Trip Grade: D; Maximum number of members: 8 with 2 British guides

Price: £5,450: Deposit: £750 booking deposit required. Balance payments: Balance due on 15th June 2017

Discounts: 2½% to past-Scottish/Alpine clients; 5% to past Himalayan-clients, 5% to groups of 3 or more; deduct £550 for land-only price (Delhi to Delhi)

Price includes Flights Heathrow-Delhi, Permit fees and Peak Royalties, Travel in India, British Guides, Indian and Sherpa staff, half-board Hotels and Hostels in India, use of Equipment/Tents. 15% discount on equipment purchases from Cotswold Outdoor. Not included: Personal Insurance, Visas, Tips, Drinks, Lunches on the road.

On the Ronti Saddle at 5300m between Trisul and Nanda Ghunti

PRIOR EXPERIENCE AND TRAININGAll members should have prior mountaineering experience up to 6000m altitude plus climbing on snow and ice in Scotland and/or the Alps with proven competence on Scottish winter grade II/III and Alpine AD snow routes. A proven ability to acclimatise well is important when going into remote country. You need to be generally fit, in robust health and well-trained.
An ‘expedition temperament’ is equally vital – a combination of patience and determination to see through the bad times - the painful process of acclimatization, spells of stormy weather and discomfort - and a refusal to be overawed and deterred from the mountain by its scale and grandeur.
It is desirable that all members have recent experience of climbing at Alpine altitudes (ie 3500-4800m). Skills and fitness can be brought up to scratch by Scottish winter climbing and short trips to the Alps. We can offer courses or private guiding to any members to develop and test the skills needed for the expedition.
General mountain fitness must be maintained at a good level by regular outings in the British hills and personal training (running, cycling, gym work etc).

PRE-EXPEDITION WEEKEND MEET: Jan 21st-22nd 2017 based in Strathcarron. Price for 2 days including briefing, slide presentations, 2 days guiding and training on the peaks of Torridon, local travel and 2 nights full-board, local station pick-up/drop off is £360.
The weekend meet is an invaluable opportunity for members and guides to get to know each other and form bonds of friendship.
To confirm attendance please pay a deposit of £90 on-line via our secure web-booking form . Please also inform us of your travel plans and schedule on Friday night.
  
WEATHER AND SNOW CONDITIONS Trisul lies on the southern edge of the main Himalayan divide and its weather is determined by the juxtaposition of hot humid air over the Indian plains and cold dry air masses over Central Asia. In early September the monsoon influence retreats and a month of drier and more settled weather usually follows before the onset of winter snowfall and severe cold. This is the golden month in which to make ascents on the high peaks of the Indian Himalaya. Night temperatures can as low as -20?C at 6000m; by day surface temperatures soar due to intense solar radiation. The weather pattern may be one of fine mornings and afternoon snowfall. More severe weather disturbances are rare, but big peaks like Trisul do attract storms when the air masses are unstable.
The snow conditions on the peak depend on the influence of the monsoon. A full monsoon will deposit thick layers of moist snow above 5000m, which consolidates in the fine weather of late September to give excellent climbing conditions. If the monsoon fails then ice will be prdominant on steeper slopes – good for making secure belays but arduous to climb. A weak monsoon generally increases the risk that the weather in September will be unsettled with snowfall; so our hope wil be for a normal summer with full monsoon followed by a month of high pressure and dry conditions.

PERMITS AND VISAS: We will be a registered climbing expedition with full recognition of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and a Liaison Officer will accompany our team. Climbing permits for the trip will be obtained from central Government (Indian Mountaineering Foundation) and Uttarakhand State Government. Individual members must get Tourist Visas. Each member must complete a Bio-data form and we submit these to the IMF for permit approval.
All applications to join this trip must be received no later than 4 months before departure to allow these procedures to be completed.
We would stress that this region of India is far removed from the areas of conflict in Kashmir and is wholly Hindu in religion with some Buddhist influence in the higher valleys. Ethnically and politically it is stable with an effective security control.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT REQUIRED  High-altitude boots rated to 7000m + with over-gaiters, a 4/5-season sleeping bag plus Pertex/Goretex cover and expedition standard Mat/Thermarest, expedition standard gloves/mittens and a warm down jacket and insulated trousers, plus a large capacity rucksack (65-80 litres) are required. Otherwise the kit normally used for sub-6000m peaks or Alpine/Scottish winter climbing will suffice.  We will send a full kit list.

PRICE HIKES: In event of peak/permit fees or local taxes being significantly increased before our departure we may have to ask members to pay a surcharge on the price. If this exceeds 10% of trip price members may cancel with full refund.

PREPARATIONS AND TRAVEL Insurance cover: all members must have full personal cover which includes medical/rescue/repatriation expenses, third-party liability, personal baggage and protection in event of cancellation /curtailment. The cover must be valid for expedition climbing in excess of 7000m. www.thebmc.co.uk offered full expedition cover in 2016 for a premium of c.£400. 
What inoculations will I need?  We will send a detailed medical brief after you book. All inoculations can be obtained in two visits to your doctor in the 3 months before departure.
How much money need I take to India?  You should take at least $400 in cash to cover Drinks, Tips, Lunches and Personal Sundries plus a credit card for use in Delhi. 
What are our flight schedules?  We usually reserve either daytime outward flight with BA from Heathrow to Delhi or overnight from Glasgow with Emirates via Dubai. However, our actual choice of flights depends on your preference and prices and schedules prevailing at the tie of reservation. We can arrange connections from regional airports with BA on payment of the relevant supplement. Return flight:  daytine on 15th or overnigth on 15th/16th with BA flight, or daytime/overnight with Emirates
What is the flight baggage allowance?  BA: 23kg per person plus 10kg hand baggage; Emirates: 30kg plus hand baggage.

HISTORY OF CLIMBING ON TRISUL AND ROUTE DESCRIPTION:
Location: 30° 18’ 48” N, 79° 46’ 48” E
Peak name: The trident of Lord Shiva
1st Ascent: A. and H. Brocherel, K.Burathoki, Dr T.Longstaff, 12th June 1907
Trisul’s historic first ascent was made by the north-eastern flanks which rise gently from the Trisul Glacier and present no technical difficulties.  Longstaff’s party pioneered the route to the Trisul Nala through the lower portion of the Rishi Gorge, then made the ascent in rapid lightweight style, climbing from a camp at 5300m to the summit in a 10 hour push. Courmayeur guide Alexis Brocherel led the whole way, a remarkable tour de force.
The route was repeated by an all-Indian team led by Gurdial Singh in 1951, this itself a landmark in Indian climbing history. Many other ascents were made, some on ski, until closure of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in 1982 ended access to the north-east flank.
The standard route to the top now is the West Ridge, which was pioneered by a Yugoslavian team in 1976, and is approached from the Nandakini valley. This is a climb of higher technical calibre with snow-ice slopes to 55-60° angle and a height gain of 2800m from Hom Kund base camp.
Trisul’s enormous West Face was climbed was climbed by another Yugoslav party in 1987 to create a route of world-class dimension and difficulty.
Route Summary: West Flank and Ridge: IV, alpine grade D (Difficile), 2800m: T.Sazonov and Yugoslavian team, 1976:  The route gains the upper shelf of the Ronti Glacier then climbs the low relief ridge at its upper end to gain the summit slopes. From Hom Kund a large couloir to the left of a prominent icefall cuts through the cliff bands. The couloir is snow-filled in spring and gives access to the upper Ronti Glacier at c.5250m (Camp I). The glacier shelf is climbed on its outer edge to minimise exposure to avalanche or sérac falls from the Trisul face. At c 6000m the shelf merges into the ice slopes and of the West Ridge (Camps II and III). The ridge is as much a face as a rib and has slopes of up to 60°, which are often icy. Previous parties have used fixed ropes to protect this section before the angle eases at 6600m. A small flat spot at 6450m offers a site for Camp IV. Easier snowfields lead to the upper South Ridge and the summit. Allow four days from base camp at 4350m in the Nandakini valley for an acclimatised party.

Route diagram of Trisul West Ridge (Google 3D imagery)

Nanda Ghunti South Face from base camp

LIFE DURING THE EXPEDITION
Accommodation?  Hostels or hotels with twin en-suite rooms and room service in Delhi and Srinagar; otherwise simple provincial resthouses
What do I need to carry on the trek?  Members need carry no more than personal effects and clothing (12kg max.) on trek to base camp. Above base camp members must carry their personal kit and make one load-ferry to Camp 2 as part of acclimatisation - typical load of 15-16kg. Above base camp we will have support from Sherpas and high altitude porters, who will carry to the top camp at 6500m.
What are the provisions for medical treatment on the trip? We carry a comprehensive medical kit on all our trips, and usually have a medical doctor on the team. All Guides have mountain first aid certificates, and long experience of expedition ailments.
What communications equipment will we take? We will carry lightweight Motorola radios for use between camps and a Delmore In-Reach satellite beacon and texting device for weather forecasts and emergency use. Please note that use of satellite phones is currently banned by the Indian authorities.
What is the trek/base camp food like?  Our base camp cook will provide a wholesome diet, eg:-Breakfast: Porage, Muesli, Omelettes, Paranthas, Pancakes
Lunches:  Vegetable or Egg Curry, Dumplings, Puris, Chips, Pakora, Salad
Dinners:  Rice/Dahl/Soya Stew, Pizza, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chow Mein, Apples/Custard, Dried Fruit, Fruit Cake
Snacks and condiments: Dried fruit, nuts, oatcakes, cheese, jam, honey, peanut butter, salami, biscuits, chocolate, fruit-cake
What sort of mountain food will we eat?  Members should expect to cook their own meals at high camps on the mountain. Hill food will include Soup, powdered Fruit Drinks, sachets Chocolate/Ovaltine, Tea, Coffee, Porage, Oatcakes, Custard, sweet Biscuits, Cheese, Jam, Honey, Fruit Cake, Flapjack bars, Chocolate, Boiled Sweets, Mint Cake, Freeze-dried Meals, Tuna, Noodles, Cous-Cous, Mashed Potatoes
Who will be the Indian staff on the trip?  We will have a Field Executive from our agent, Himalayan Run & Trek Pvt. Ltd to assist and supervise the expedition, plus a cook, kitchen helper and up to 3 Sherpas/high altitude porters.
Do I need to take my own tent?  It is suggested that members take their own tent for personal use at base camp. Above base camp we will provide 2 and 3 person mountain tents.

Please call us if you’d like to know anything else before booking; a kit list for the trip will be sent separately

We hope you will join us and look forward to hearing from you

 

 

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Moran Mountain Ltd - Park Cottage - Achintee - Strathcarron - Ross-shire - IV54 8YX
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E-mail moranmountain@icloud.com
Director: Martin Moran
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