Harmukh Climbing Notes

  • October 29, 2015
    Aadil shah from India

    The Haramukh Ascent

    On 20th September 2015, a group of four young Kashmiri climbers summitted what is considered to be the most difficult mountain to climb in the Kashmir province of J&K state. Previously considered to be standing at 5143 mtrs, the new altitude of Mount Haramukh was recorded to be 5255 mtrs above Sea Level. The climb was organized by Jammu & Kashmir Mountaineering and Hiking Club (JKMHC). Starting on 18th September from Kudara Village in the North West district of Bandipora, the team trekked up to the Sarbal meadow where they set up the Base Camp at 3500m. The next day a Summit Team of four members, lead by Aadil Shah, climbed up to the Advanced Base Camp at 4650 mtrs above sea level. The team followed the conventional route mentioned by a veteran climber of the Valley Mr. Nandlal Bakaya in his book “Holidaying and Trekking in Valley”.He had climbed the peak in 1944. During the course of this climb, the climbers were tested by loose scree, precariously poised boulders and near vertical walls. After setting up the Advanced Base Camp, the team advanced further up in order to locate the route for the next day. On 20th September, after thorough deliberations and calculations, the team braved the hostile weather and near vertical walls and climbed further up to the vast expanses of the Ice-Field at around 4900 mtrs above sea level. From here the team roped in and, using advanced gear and techniques, summitted the peak at 4:25 PM. The view is awesome. One can capture the panorama of mighty mountain ranges and the bewitching valleys studded with sparkling water lakes. The team descended to the Advanced Base Camp and stayed there for another night. During the course of the entire climb, the team was in constant touch with the Base Camp. The Summit Team comprised of:
    Aadil Shah (Team Leader)
    Khurshid Beigh
    Taous Baba
    Tufail Qureshi

    Most climbers regard Mount Haramukh as technically the most challenging mountain to climb in the Kashmir Province. Many attempts have been previously made to scale it. The first ever successful climb was done by the members of the Great Trigonometric Survey, led by Thomas Montegomorie, in 1856. Montgomerie made the first survey of the Karakoram some 210 km (130 miles) to the north, and sketched the two most prominent peaks, labelling them K1 and K2. So, Haramukh is the mountain from which the world's second-highest mountain peak, K2, was discovered and the name given it by the Survey, K2 continues to be used. In the Year 1883 Sir Earnest Neve attempted to climb The Haramukh Peak via Sarbal Route but failed. 3 years later in 1886, he was successful to reach the summit from Erin Valley side which he called the station peak. The summit provided a magnificent view of the ranges beyond, especially of Nanga Parbat. Since then the peak has been successfully scaled first by Kirti Singh and then by Earnest Neve. In 1894 M.A Stein also climbed the peak successfully. General Bruce , Dr Neve & Col Millias also made successful attempts in 1912. In 1944 Master Nandlal Bakaya summitted Mt. Haramukh from the South-Western side and sketched the route to the summit in his book “Holidaying and Trekking in Valley”. In 1983, Rajinder Koul also climbed the peak successfully. Since then, the recent summit is considered to be the first successful one by civilian climbers. Although in June 2015, JKMHC had organized a climb to Mount Haramukh under the leadership of Khursheed Laiguru, but due to constraints in the route the team could make it only to the Station Peak (4830 mtrs).
    Members at Basecamp:

    Shuja Aalum
    Arshed Majeed
    Suhail Nazir
    Virender Watal

    Support/Emergency Team:

    Dr. Aamir Ali
    Mr. Mahmood Shah

    About Haramukh:
    Haramukh (also known as Mount Haramukh or Haramukh Mountain) is a mountain with a peak elevation of 5,225 metres (17033ft), in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. Haramukh is part of the Himalaya Range, and is located between Nallah Sindh in the south and Kishanganga Neelum River in the north, rising above Gangabal Lake in the vicinity of Kashmir valley. It is mostly climbed from the northwestern side of Arin Bandipora.
    Haramukh lies in the northwestern Himalayan Range. The Karakoram Range borders it on the north and the Kashmir Valley on the south. Melt waters from glaciers form Gangabal Lake which lies at its foot to the north east side and contribute significantly to the regional fresh-water supply, supporting irrigation through Nallah Sindh. This Himalayan Range lies along the southern edge of the Eurasian tectonic plate and is made up of ancient sedimentary rocks (more than 390 million years old). Those strata were folded and thrust-faulted, and granite masses were intruded, when the Indian plate collided with Eurasia, beginning more than 100 million years ago Haramukh means same on all sides. It is notable for its local relief as it is a consistently steep pyramid, dropping sharply to the east and south, with the eastern slope the steepest.
    Haramukh was first climbed by members of the Great Trigonometric Survey led by Thomas Montgomerie in 1856. Montgomerie made the first survey of the Karakoram some 210 km (130 miles) to the north, and sketched the two most prominent peaks, labelling them K1 and K2. Haramukh was later climbed by many other climbers. Most Recently the Haramukh peak was climbed by a local group of climbers on September 20th 2015. This was the first successful ascent to the eastern peak since past 35 years. The newly recorded altitude of the eastern hump was 5255m

    Aadil Shah ( Alpine adventurers)
    Member - Jammu & Kashmir Mountaineering and Hiking Club

  • July 28, 2012
    M M Munshi from India

    It was 1n 1940s as a school boy of the then CMS Headow now Biscoe Memorial School still located at Shiek Bagh Srinagar I climbed the holy peak along with few other boys of the school led by Major Jardeen and N.L.Bakaya our scout and second masters of our school. We were also accompanied by Pathan students of some missionary college of Peshawar. We travelled by a rickety sixteen seater bus from the KMD stand to Kangan in Sind valley. We started trekking from Kangan along the Krenk Nadi stream and encamped at Wangat for the night.

    Beyond Wangat climb got steeper and some of us had to take rest frequently [even though most of us had climbed Mahadeo and Zabarwan peaks overlooking the Dal Lake near Srinagar till we reached Nandkul a small lake fed by a glacier. A Kashmiri Pandit teacher told us that its real name was Nandisaras and the whole area was known as Nandikshetra. After another days climb we were at a beautiful site of Gangabal lake about 13,000 ft height The KP teacher explained the lake was originally referred as Utrasaras and was visited by pilgrims sometime in September and October who immersed the ashes of their dead relations . We camped at the shores of this lake for a couple of days to get acclimatised and thoroughly enjoyed the view of the glacier descending from the Harmukh Peak feeding the Gangabal lake. The glacier looks particularly beautiful during the sunrise.

    While we were stlll enjoying the process of selection of climbers was going on At first all school boys were asked to stay back at Gangbal and only experienced teachers and boys of the Peshawar college were to go. The school boys pleaded that some of us had performed better than the college boys during the the climb from Kangan to Gangbal. Reluctantly it was agreed that the school boys would make the second attempt Accordingly N.L.Bakaya and college boys etc left the camp for and N.L. Bakaya and two Pathan students actually reached the top, after this tree teachers including NL Bakaya left for the second attempt but halfway we were caught in a hailstorm like of which I have never witnessed since. Hail size of chicken eggs was falling. As instructed by NL Bakaya we covered our heads and faces with whatever we could find in our kit returned to Gangabal As weather showed no improvement and after a days rest be trekked back to Kangan to eventually reached Srinagar

    .............................................................
    I will send a detailed note of my successful ascent of Haramukh about 20 years latter