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HMI lines up climbathon

Climbathon is a rare event that stretches human endurance in extreme conditions

By Vivek Chhetri in Calcutta

  • Published 5.11.19, 2:43 AM
  • Updated 5.11.19, 2:43 AM
Surendra Gupta offers tributes to Narendra Dhar Jayal at the foundation day celebrations of the institute on Monday
Surendra Gupta offers tributes to Narendra Dhar Jayal at the foundation day celebrations of the institute on Monday Telegraph Picture

Marathon is passé, for those interested in checking their endurance ability, the test lies in Climbathon.

Come April-May, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling will organise a “climbathon” in which the expedition teams will try and scale a number of peaks without touching their base camps.

Climbathon is a rare event that stretches human endurance in extreme conditions but the HMI’s project is even more challenging. Teams will be formed from trainees enrolled for their advance mountaineering course.

Group Captain Jai Kishan, principal, HMI, who made the announcement during the institution’s 65th foundation day celebrations on Monday, said the attempt was “difficult” but he sounded confident of its success.

“Next year, we will organise a climbathon from Chowrikhang in West Sikkim and our team will try and climb three to four peaks without returning to the base camp,” Kishan said.

The HMI’s training camp is based at Chowrikhang at an altitude of around 14,500ft and is near the Rathong Glacier. The place is surrounded by Frey Peak, BC Roy Peak, Kokthang and Kabru massif, which ranges from 17,000ft to 19,000ft and the team will be targeting these peaks. The details will be finalised by January.

“Frey Peak is technically a difficult peak as there are loose rocks and this makes climbing difficult,” said Kishan. The other peaks in the area like BC Roy are considered “moderate”.

“We are trying to scale at least three of these peaks within a span of 15 days and definitely we have to be prepared to overcome body fatigue,” said Kishan, who on this Independence Day led a successful HMI team to Mt Elbrus (18,510ft), touted as Europe’s highest peak.

The preparations for the climbathon started from this year. “From 45 students, who were enrolled from this year’s advance course, we selected a 14-member team that successfully climbed Frey Peak this year,” said Kishan. “This has given us the confidence that we can do it.”

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