Meru: One Persistent Mountaineering Problem

I’m about to make the monthly payments for the mortgage and the loan for my beloved 2010 Subaru Outback, and like every so often I ask some serious questions, if only half-heartedly.  So where might I go if these debts weren’t begging for steady income?  Well, this mountain daydream takes us the northern edge of India:

Alpinist Conrad Anker said to The Outsider that there are far fewer challenges today in mountaineering, but one such place that he has attempted and would like to return to is Meru (21,850 ft./6,660 m.) in the Gangontri Region of the Himalayas.  Specifically, he is interested in conquering the Shark’s Fin route.   

The Shark’s Fin route is the central prow of Meru’s middle peak.  It involves alpine rock, ice and snow.  The crux of the challenge has been beating the weather, supplies, and the bare Shark’s Fin above 19,029 ft./5,800 m.  Russian Valery Babanov soloed the route in 2001, but circumvented the fin proper to reach the summit – the Shangri La route.  Regardless, he rightfully won the Piolet d’Or for this route. 

  • Location: Gangotri National Park, Garhwal Indian Himalayas
  • Summit Elevation: 21,850 ft./6,660 m.
  • Climbing Routes: Meru is irregular shaped massif and includes several peaks and several routes, however the Shark’s Fin, also known as Meru Central, has turned numerous alpinists away at the fin itself; alternate routes have lead to the summit. 
  • Hiking Trails: Unmarked routes are throughout Gangotri National Park, some of which require general mountaineering skills.  See this link for someone’s take: http://www.bhramanti.com/badriga.html
  • Getting There: Flying from the states to Delhi (DEL) should run approximately $1,200 per passenger.  From there it is a two day journey to Gangotri National Park in the Indian state/province of Uttarakhand.  The nearest town is Uttarkashi. 
  • Outfitting: Outfitters and guides will be best acquired in Delhi as many Himalayan expeditions originate there. 
  • Recommended Viewing: Dispatch Videos by Renan Ozturk: http://vimeo.com/channels/34832

Well, if you go send me a note at SuburbanMountaineer@yahoo.com, leave a comment, and don’t forget that you can follow this site through Facebook and even Twitter (@SuburbanMtnr).  Happy exploring!

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