A tribute to a trekker

H/l: Trekkers conquer virgin peak, name it after friend who died during expedition

AADITI JATHAR LAKADE
Posted: Thursday , Jan 28, 2010

Pune: Giving the most befitting homage to a trekker, eight mountaineers of Giripremi Mountaineering Institute summitted the 2,500 feet Nafta peak near Konkan kada in Malshej ghat recently and named it Mangesh Dhar, after their fellow trekker, Mangesh Deshpande, who died in October 2009.

In the endeavour, the team exposed the route to this mountain, a virgin peak, located about 150 km from Pune. Deshpande, an engineer, who lost his life while trekking in Sikkim-Himalayas, was also supposed to be part of this expedition.

“Nafta peak, also known as Domb, can be seen while climbing the Harishchandra Fort. Though we always wanted to open a route to this peak, we started planning only a year ago. Deshpande ,” said Umesh Zirpe, president, Giripremi.
The seven-member team — Bhushan Harshe, Anand Mali, Abhijit Lohakare, Harshad Rao, Ajay More, Ashish More and Ranjit Shinde — led by Rahul Yelange, decided to dedicate the Nafta expedition to Deshpande.

This summit was special in many ways. First, we always had Deshpande at the back of our mind. Secondly, it was Giripremi’s first major expedition, after 12 years, opening a virgin route to a peak of this height,” said Yelange, trekking for over eight years. We avoided chain bolting and stressed on routes that allowed free climbing,” he said.

Initially, the team thought it would take them only a week to complete the expedition. “However, after five days, we realised we would need another five-six days to reach the peak. Since all of us are working professionals, it was difficult to extend our commitments,” said Yelange. However, the team members decided to stay put and successfully summitted in 11 days.

En route, Yelange had a 40-feet fall and was injured, but he went ahead with the expedition. Zirpe said. A team of supporters — Sujit Tambe, Chetan Ketkar, Surendra Jalihal, Ganesh Gidh, Shrikant Sapkal, Sandeep Chavan, Prasad Joshi, Amogh Rudra, Rupesh Khopde, Kaustubh Thakar, Ajit Tate and Paresh Naik — provided the climbers with food and water. They brought water from a village nearby and carried it all the way to the climbers.

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