Srinagar: The nine-member Kashmir Mountaineering and Adventure Club (JKMAC) team made history by becoming the third team to successfully summit the exceedingly technical and challenging Tatakooti Peak in the Pirpanjal range.
The nine-member group successfully summited the 4750 high altitude peak on September after covering a total distance of 37.57 kilometres.
The team was led by experienced mountaineer Ghulam Muhammad (Gullu) and Arshid Majid and included Taous Baba, Haziq Beigh, Zeeshan Mushtaq, Mudasir Bashir Shah, Khursheed Beigh, Ahsan Mohsin and Tanveer Dar are the third ever group to scale the peak after Dr Ernest Neve, C.E. Barton and team of (JIM&WS).
Tatakooti peak lies on the South Western side of the Kashmir Valley and is the highest peak of Pir Panjal Range, bounding the valley from South West. It was Dr Neve who first attempted to scale the peak in August 1901 with his partner C.E. Barton and made the first successful ascent of the peak via its South Eastern side.
After a gap of 120 years, a team from the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM&WS) made the second successful ascent of the peak via its North East side.
And now on September 24, a team of JKMAC members, under the leadership of Ghulam Muhammad Wani (Gullu) and Arshid Majid marked the third successful ascent of the peak.
Wani from Tangmarg, was also part of the JIM&WS team, thus making him the only one to scale peak twice.
Giving details about the historic expedition, the JKMAC official said that on September 23, a nine-member JKMAC team was flagged off for the expedition by club President Mouzam Bakshi in the presence of Mahmood Ahmad Shah from TRC, Srinagar.
“At Doodhpathri, the team loaded all the necessary equipment, ration and other essential stuff on the horses and began hiking towards the base camp at Domail in Ashtar Valley. A 15 km hike traversing through the forests and endless meadows of Pir Panjal. At around 3 pm, the team finally reached the base camp and pitched their tents. Following an early dinner, members decided to sleep early and go for the summit push in the early hours the next morning,” the official said.
“In the early hours of September 24, around 3:30 am the team left the base camp for the summit push. The first plan of action was to reach the Eastern shoulder of the peak, a 500 m elevation gain from the base camp through rough terrain. As per our research, the gully up to the shoulder should have been covered with snow. However, the team encountered with a snowless gully making it more challenging to ascend. This secree (small loose rocks) accompanied by incessant light rockfalls added to the challenges of the climb. The region has changed tremendously and for the worse from the time of Dr Neve’s exploration. Drastically receding snow cover makes the region increasingly more dangerous and uncertain,” he said.
“Finally reaching the shoulder, the team decided to climb up the Eastern Ridge that could be seen connecting to a distant end. As members followed this route, rock conditions became more stable and one could identify the ridge leading upto the summit. The team finally reached the Tatakotti summit at 10:00 am. After a brief halt at the summit, members started descending at 10:30 am. Owing to the unstable rock conditions, members had to come down slowly to avoid triggering any major rockfall. The team finally reached the base camp at 3:00 pm, making this expedition the third successful attempt and the first civilian attempt of the Tatakooti peak,” the official said about the expedition.
The official said that JKMAC formally JKMHC has been at the forefront of the promotion of adventure sports in J&K from last more than 50 years.
“During last, 10 years adventure sports especially trekking and Mountaineering has got renewed interest among the youth. We are seeing more and more youth taking up this activity. It is great for J&K as well as for the tourism sector,” he said.
About the expedition, he said,” It is history made with first ever all Kashmiri Mountaineering group scaling the peak successfully. It is an extremely tough peak to climb and only skilled and experienced climbers can do it. This climb is also special for Ghulam Mohammad known as Gullu who is now the only person to have summited this peak twice”.