Area: Gangotri Area (Garhwal)
Height: Kamet- 7756 m
Abu Gamin- 7354 m
Team: Indian (Indian Navy)
Leader: Cdr. Satyabrata Dam
Period:May to June 2003
Kamet was climbed via the northwest ridge (Satyabrata Dam, Ang Tashi on 12 June 2003) and by the normal northeast face ( Kankan , Rajkumar, Sange, Samgyal on 13 June 2003). Abi Gamin was climbed by the normal route (Satyabrata Dam, Bhanoo, Rakesh Kumar, Sange on 11 th June 2003).
An eight member Indian Navy team climbed Kamet and Abi Gamin in the pre-monsoon period of 2003. The team led by Cdr S Dam, reached the road head of Ghamsali on 18 th May 2003. They established Base Camp at 4650 m on 23 rd May next to the frozen Vasundhara Tal. After the initial route opening through the Purvi Kamet glacier, C1 was established on 28 th May at 4960 m. Immediately the weather deteriorated and temperatures plunged well below zero. They placed C2 at 5360 m up ahead on the glacier, and were bombarded night and day by huge avalanches from the surrounding ridges. After C2, the trail wound up north along with the glacier on its true left bank and after climbing an ice wall and a mixed gully of ice and rock, the team reached C3 at 6050 m on a wide shelf of ice and rock and established C3 on 3 rd June. The weather was now worsening. The most technical phase of the expedition lay between C3 and C4 through a steep wall of mixed ground that was fixed and opened over 4 days. The first team occupied C4 at 6650 m on 7 th June.
At this stage few Sherpas and HAPs showed signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and were sent down. From C4 the altitude and the deteriorating weather had a pronounced effect on the expedition and the team progressed with caution up the mountain. On 10 th June the first team occupied C5 at Meade's Col at 7100 m between Kamet and Abi Gamin, while the second team came up to C4. C5 proved to be severely cold and windy with average daytime temperature hovering around minus 15 deg C and winds speeding up to 100 Knots. The first attempt on Kamet on 11 th morning was called off due to very bad weather and zero visibility. Later when the weather cleared, Surg Lt Viking Bhanoo, LMA Rakesh Kumar and Sherpa Sange Puri climbed Abi Gamin. After they returned and descended to C4, Cdr S Dam climbed Abi Gamin solo, following the trail made by the earlier team.
A little after the midnight of 12 th June, Cdr S Dam and Sherpas Ang Tashi and Purva left for Kamet . Purva had to descend soon due to acute AMS, while the other two continued. Following a new route over the northwest ridge, Cdr S Dam and Ang Tashi summitted Kamet after 14 hrs. They descended safely to C5 through darkness. The second team started for Kamet on 13 th June early morning. Lt Amit Pande developed leg sprain and difficulty in breathing and had to abandon his attempt and he returned to C5. At 11.30 am, Lt Cdr Abishek Kankan, MCHERA Rajkumar, Sange Puri and Samgyal reached the summit of Kamet . Kankan was on his first expedition. The summit teams descended to C3 the same day, leaving Rajkumar and Kankan behind who came down the next day. C3 was wound up on 14 th June and the team descended to C2. By now the weather had packed up totally. They returned to BC on 15 th June over the glacier that had altered its appearance completely.
(extracted from Article, H.J. Vol. 60)