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IMF Webinar Series Launched

Just how arduous is it to conquer the mighty Himalayas? How insurmountable does it feel scaling its peaks amidst freezing cold conditions, and sometimes trailing paths that have never been trodden before? And, which among the mountains is the hardest and most unforgiving?

Well, that is exactly what the Indian Mountaineering Foundation attempts to showcase in its most unique and original form. In a series of illustrated presentations given by some of the greatest mountaineers to ever climb the mountain, you get to understand the joys and the sorrows, the trials and tribulations and the highs and lows of mountaineering.

The presentations flow nicely, with each clip detailing how it feels to climb a particular mountain and the entire mountain-climbing experiences in its true essence. While the all the speakers have several years’ worth of experience as mountaineers, their individual experience tells their adventures conquering what they initially viewed as an impossible conquest.

The presentations are on varied subjects such as mountaineering, exploration, mountain ecology, biodiversity, cultural ethos, livelihood issues, conservation efforts, mythology, books and films.

Zemu Gap from South

Anindya elaborates his experience climbing Zemu Gap from the South, including the complexities encountered and why it is not a joke. The Zemu Gap is not easy to conquer and many have tried it before.

But Anindya, after learning about the unsuccessful attempts, chose to go for it, from the South. Did he succeed? What did he learn about its impregnable defences?

#Sikkim #ZemuGap #Himalayas #HighAltitude #ExtremeAdventure #Climbing #Expeditions

Exploring the Brahmaputra

Exploring the legendary S-bend, which encompasses Tsangpo through Siang to Brahmaputra and how Harish Kapadia could be among the first people to discover it. The narrator explains about a trip they took in 2004, while following the course of Tsangpo from Tibet, how it meanders around the mountains to Siang in India and later Brahmaputra.

He goes on to highlight how the river confused an early English explorer, Frank Kingdon Ward, who authored Riddle of the Tsangpo’s Gorges, possibly because of his inability to identify the river’s course. According to him, Kinthup is the man who helped draft the course of it. Throughout the video, you won’t help, but notice how brilliant Harish is with the geographical explorations around the Himalaya and Eastern Karakoram. It also shows the varying beautiful landscape and history of some parts he visited.

About the author

Harish Kapadia has led more than 35 expeditions and published 17 books in addition to a large number of articles and papers on his experiences. He was Honorary Editor of the prestigious Himalayan Journal for three decades and is now the Editor Emeritus of the Himalayan Club. He is Honorary Member of several International mountaineering clubs and has received numerous awards which include Tensing Norgay Adventure Award from the President of India, Patrons Royal Medal from the Royal Geographical Society, London and the Piolet’s D’or Asia for Life Time achievements.

#Brahmaputra #Tsangpo #NamcheBarwa #SBend #ArunachalPradesh #Assam #Himalayas #Trekking #Exploration

My Most Memorable Images in the Mountains

Padma Shri award-winner, Anup Sah explains several amazing images of climbers scaling different mountains, the snow-capped mountains, the wonderful flora and fauna. His passion for the mountain reflects in his work as a photographer. Rich with information and history, coupled with beautiful storytelling, it is a delight to watch him talk about his experiences behind the award winning shots. Stunning and rare pictures of even rarer birds and mountains make this webinar superbly engaging.

About the author

Padma Shri awardee Anup Sah is at once a photographer, a mountaineer, a trainer, a bee-keeper, a florist, a mushroom grower, a college manager and above all a down to earth human being. Sah took to photography in his teens when his father presented him with an Agfa Isoly camera. In September 1968, his father founded the Nainital Mountaineering Club (NTMC), which also paved the way for Sah to take up mountaineering and enhance his growing love for nature. Over the next few years, he scaled Mount Nanda Khat without any Sherpa, Devisthan Peak, Mount Panwali Dwar and in 1992 he led the first successful Trail Pass Expedition after a gap of 53 years.

#Himalayas #NaturePhotography #WildlifePhotography #PadmaShri

Nelong - The Forbidden Valley of Janhavi

Before the start of this adventure, anyone would wonder why they had to nickname it the Forbidden Valley, and perhaps if it’s really forbidden. But as Ashutosh Mishra explains, having explored the Valley of Nelong and compiled everything in his presentation, there couldn’t have been a better name for it.

The video not only gives a short description of the exact spot of this fascinating valley, but also explains the difficulties of gaining entry through the gorge. Yet, as the multi-IMF-award winner continues, he delves even deeper into the mysteries behind Nelong, including the government’s decree against any expeditions into this valley and the group’s bravery, years later.

The actual trek is as adventure-filled as you can imagine. It has a mysterious 200-year-old, 105-metre wooden Gartang Gali bridge, hanging from the mountain, Mani stones with centuries’ old writings on them, ancient shrines and lots of other mysteries. You shouldn’t be surprised that there’s even a whole film, Seven Years in Tibet, inspired by this valley. Generally though, there’s a lot to discover about this Forbidden Valley, and Ashutosh is glad enough to reveal them. Well worth watching!

About the author

Ashutosh Mishra pursues a career in Management Consulting with deep passion for the Himalayas. He has spent about 2 decades in exploratory expeditions in the Himalayan ranges of Kumaon, Garhwal and Kinnaur. Ashutosh combines modern technology with Himalayan explorations in team formation, route planning, navigation and visualization for such expeditions. He has been regularly published in mountaineering journals and awarded by the IMF for several interesting and pioneering adventures. Currently he is involved in diverse projects in the mountains, ranging from organic farming to renewable energy solutions and more interesting explorations.

#Janhavi #Ganga #Watershed #Gangotri #Uttarakhand #Himalayas #Exploration

Prow of Shiva

The webinar attempts to expose the little-known side of climbing a Himalaya as told by a seasoned mountain climber. The trip dwells around the very important must-knows about the expedition, including the source of the inspiration to go for the challenge and the hurdles along the way.

Mick Fowler, the narrator, is no-ordinary climber, if what he faces on the 10-day expedition is anything to go by. Tales of sheer bravery, optimism, a never-say-die attitude and the true spirit of a seasoned mountaineer simply sum up the exploration.

The video also has lots of valuable lessons for future climbers of Shiva wishing to use the same route. He and his compatriot talk about the essence of not cheating using bolts, climbing do's and don’ts, the climbing equipment that work best with the Himalaya and the painful truth that every climber ought to know.

About the author

Mick Fowler has been climbing in the higher ranges since 1982, with several First Ascents to his credit in Nepal, Russia, Yukon, Tibet, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Pakistan, Peru and India. He has undertaken 10 notable expeditions in the Indian Himalaya. Mick has served as the President of the UK Alpine Club. He is a three-time Piolet D'Or winner and has published two volumes of memoirs, for which he won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature at the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival and the best book prize at the Bormio Mountain Festival in 2012.

#ShivaPeak #Himachal #PangiValley #Himalayas #Mountaineering #Alpinism

Valleys of the Valley

Mahmood Ahmed Shah sets off for Kashmir, a beauty tucked between the Himalayas and the land of several breath-taking, high altitude lakes. Trekking in Kashmir, he manages to discover many of these lakes, and expertly explains the distances between them. He also gives an insightful analysis of the ranges, the passes leading up, and where the best campsites are.

The video sheds some light on the popular Jammu and Kashmir Mountaineering and Hiking Club and how it organizes hike trips for adventure-hungry hikers. Mr. Shah is an important figure when it comes to IMF’s Himalayan treks, because he understands the whole of Kashmir, hike trails, and also his role as being central to government-initiated operations around the area, including the tunnel leading to the valley.

About the author

Mahmood Ahmad Shah is a senior bureaucrat in the J & K Administration, while also an established mountaineer and trekker with a passion for exploring the outdoors. He has been elected twice as the President of Jammu and Kashmir Mountaineering and Hiking club (established in 1934), one of the premier and oldest clubs of the Valley. He is a member of the IMF and the UIAAA. Currently Shah is working on a book on 100 High altitude Lakes of Kashmir and a Trekking Guide book on Jammu and Kashmir.

#AlpineLakes #Kashmir #HighAltitude #NangaParbat #Himalayas #trekking #Exploration

Climbing Saser Kangri IV

Watching this video, especially with Saser Kangri IV giving an analysis of his expedition in 2016, it becomes a lot easier to understand the "Yellow Goddess of the Karakoram,” the rugged, lonely and inhospitable terrain and the many failed attempts to climb the mountain.

Knowing the number of lives lost in all the attempts to conquer the Himalaya’s Saser Kangri Mountain, Prem Kumar Singh uses this video to advise anyone wishing to go and climb it. He gives a list of reasons behind the fateful trips and what anyone should do to hopefully climb it successfully.

Prem is one of the youngest professional mountaineers in India and he boasts of over 7 years of mountaineering in the Himalayas. And as he analyzes where the hurdles of climbing Saser Kangri IV come from, he bases the failures of other mountaineers on his own findings. He however admits that the mountain is an “unfinished business” and expresses his wishes to go back.

About the author

Prem Kumar Singh has undertaken 15 expeditions, climbing all over the Indian Himalayas, including Deo Tibba, Nun, Satopanth, Trishul, Saser Kangri, Everest, Elbrus, Aconcagua and Carstensz Pyramid. He has also done winter ascents of Mt. Friendship and Mt. Ladakhi. He has also been proactively propagating climbing in Indian Himalayas across various platforms like TEDx, FICCI, CCI etc.

#Karakoram #SaserKangri #Himalayas #Ladakh #HighAltitude #ExtremeAdventure #mountaineering #Expeditions

Safety Tips for Trekking in Brown Bear Habitat

Hiking and mountaineering is fun, but for those who choose to take on the Himalayas from Ladakh, it isn’t always a great experience. Ladakh has several fierce and dangerous animals, including the snow leopards and the Himalayan brown bears.

Thankfully, Kirti Chavan, in the presentation, gives valuable safety tips for safe trekking and mountaineering. He advises on safe practices in the wild, how to handle brown bear attacks, and the likeliest areas where they could be in Ladakh.

Kirti, works with the Snow Leopard Conservancy Trust, also sheds light on why the animals are nowadays becoming way too common to meet. You should check out his recommended measures, including reading tracks, carrying safety equipment and when not to visit particular areas.

About the author

Kirti Chavan is a conservationist and researcher working with the Snow Leopard Conservancy Trust, specifically on mitigation of conflict between humans and the Himalayan Brown Bear. Kirti also has experience of working as a grassroots conservationist with Satpuda Foundation in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

#HimalayanBrownBear #EarthDay #Himalayas #Conservation #Ladakh #Zanskar

Mountain Moments

Sujoy Das, a seasoned trekker and the voice behind the video, paints perhaps the clearest picture of the entire experience throughout the trip, including the locals they met in the Himalayas. One impressive aspect about the video is how this professional photographer managed to capture important moments of the expedition.

And like a third party or perhaps an outsider in the whole trip, he manages to shoot award-winning images of the galaxy, the mountain ranges illuminated and the beautiful valley with sheep grazing. His excellent artistry also shows what would otherwise be a tiring outing in colorful images.

The images of monks, the sun’s rays illuminating the prayer area, dancer in motion, fast-flowing waters of a stream, the forested vegetation and lots of other pictures highlight other beauties climbers tend to ignore. He captures the tiny, little-known aspects of the mountains that, as much as nobody really observes, can form a wonderful photo album. And in his collection, he manages to show why his works constantly appear in the greatest mountain climbing journals and publications.

About the author

Sujoy Das, founder of South Col expeditions, he has introduced many trekkers and photographers to the magic of the mountains. His images and accompanying essays have featured in such eminent publications such as the Washington Post, Alpinist, Insight Guides, Outdoor Journal, Outlook Traveller and many others. He has co-authored and photographed for several books including Everest Reflections on the Solukhumbu, Nepal Himalaya - A Journey Through Time, Sikkim - A Travellers Guide and Lonely Planet - Nepal for the Indian Traveller. He has been invited to speak at the Mussoorie Mountain Festival in 2017 and the Bhutan Mountain Echoes Festival in 2019.

#NaturePhotography #Sikkim #Ladakh #Kanchenjunga #Himalayas #WildlifePhotography #HighAltitude

The Himalaya - A Living Landscape

An author and native of Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, Stephen talks about a memoir about the mighty ranges. He explains the magic and charm of the mountains, the flora and fauna around it and why the range possibly has the greatest collection of them in a single area. As highlighted in the video, there are countless plants and animals, birds, and insects you possibly haven’t ever seen before.

About the author

Stephen Alter is the acclaimed and celebrated author of twenty books of fiction and non-fiction. He was born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand and much of his writing focuses on the Himalayan region, where he continues to live and work. His honours include a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright research award.

His memoir, Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime received the Kekoo Naoroji Award for Himalayan Literature in 2015. His most recent work of fiction, In The Jungles of the Night: A Novel About Jim Corbett, was shortlisted for the DSC South Asian Literature Award in 2017. He was writer-in-residence at MIT for ten years, before which he directed the writing programme at the American University in Cairo. He is the founding director of the Mussoorie Mountain Festival.

#Himalayas #LivingLandscape #Biodiversity #WildHimalaya #Nature #Mountains

Everest by a Staircase

As much as the title of this clip puzzles, its content, as explained by Dr. Arun Nayak, should challenge every hiking junkie who fears the freezing conditions of this monster. It really is a challenge that shows that, even if one can’t manage to go to Everest, he/she can do a similar number of steps and cover the distance using ordinary staircase right at home. It is worth watching, especially with all the tips he employed to successfully complete the challenge.

About the author

Dr Arun Nayak is an amateur mountaineer and long distance runner. He has done numerous treks in the Himalayas and has also summitted a few peaks, Mt Mera, Nepal, Mt Stok Kangri, Mt Hanuman Tibba. He is also a regular contributor to book reviews for the Himalayan Club Journal. He has done numerous Ultra marathons in India and the Comrades in South Africa. He is an Orthodontist by profession and maintains a private practice in Fort, Mumbai.

#Fitness #Everest #Covid19 #Lockdown #FitIndia #QuarantineWorkout

Shah Jot - The Forgotten Trail

An illustration by Rijul Gill, the video explains how it feels to hike the mountain, cross some rarely-used passes and finally arrive at the ‘forgotten valley’ of Bada Bhangal. It’s forgotten because it is essentially sealed off from the rest of the world by three very high Himalayan ranges on all sides.

Reaching the village in the valley means crossing the mountains. And for the faint of hearted, such an expedition isn’t easy. Rijul, however, has the mental strength, the zeal and determination to arrive there and understand why the village’s paltry population stays there, albeit for a couple of months a year.

There’s a lot to discover about the short expedition, but perhaps the most surprising is how some of the passes have never been used in years and how the climbers actually had to create the trails. It is a breathtaking valley and views from the summit of the mountains are equally spectacular. In the end, however, the greatest takeaway from the entire 4-day adventure is the essence of teamwork, harmony, and togetherness amongst mountaineers attempting to climb a mountain that has never been conquered before.

About the author

Rijul Gill started trekking at the age of 19 with the nomadic Gaddi shepherds of Himachal, learning all the basic skills from them, and then proceeded to complete his formal training in Mountaineering. Over the last 10 years he has undertaken 50 treks primarily in the Dhauladhar, Pir Panjal and Great Himalayan Range (Paddar / Zanskar). Besides being an avid mountaineer, he is a farmer and orchardist by profession, and lives in Dharamsala (H.P.)

#Lahaul #Barabhangal #Himachal #Gaddi #Himalayanpass #Himalayas #Exploration

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