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Guide Piaras prepares for Himalayan Expedition

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In November 2014, a party of 7 Irish ‘adventurers’ made the first ever journey into an extremely remote valley in North West Sikkim.sikkim-ex-logo-transparent-background
This was effectively initiated by Anindya (Raja) Mukherjee, a highly accomplished Indian climber and explorer who is the owner/operator of a small company called ‘Adventure Mania’. Raja had previously been in an adjacent valley to the south and was prompted to attempt to explore the adjacent valley to the North.
This ‘expedition’ in 2014 was quite successful. It took a total of 5 days to reach base camp which was set up at approximately 4000m. Two of the approach days involved an exhaustingly desperate slog through dense rhododendron forest with a few people out in front hacking a trail. The members explored 2/3 passes and got some hugely beneficial reconnaissance photographs of a number of truly spectacular unclimbed mountains on both the North and South of the valley. Despite the best of intentions and will at the time, unfortunately the group were just not strong enough or well enough equipped on this occasion for a serious attempt at any of these summits.
In October/November 2016, a party of 8 Irish climbers are again bound for Sikkim for a serious attempt to climb a few of these spectacular unclimbed mountains.
The primary objectives of the 2016 expedition are the jagged East and West summits of the Rock Needle ridge. (See pic #1). These summits are at approximately 6000 meters and are the peaks to the left and the right of the photograph. Base camp will be at sited at approximately 3800m elevation.

Irish Sikkim Expedition 2016

Pic #1 One of the summits of needles ridge

 In order to acclimatise for these attempts, the expedition aims to attempt one of two other summits to the south of base camp. (See pic #2)
Pic 2: There is a possibility of climbing one of the summits to the left of the photograph, and there is also the possibility of gaining the main summit by a route from the col to the left of the summit. This is hidden from view.


Pic #2

There are also two more worthwhile and amenable alternatives situated to the North of Base Camp. Here there are two impressive rock summits which also provide sensational objectives. (See pic #3).

The group heading out on this 2016 expedition have the ideal mix of youth, enthusiasm, and experience. The group are all very competent climbers, two were on the original exploration of the valley, and all are extremely keen, fit and adventurous.



Pic #3

 The group will leave Ireland on October 16th 2016, spend approximately one week getting to base camp, have approximately 2 weeks at base camp to attempt some of these objectives before heading for home. One of the team members is a professional photographer, published author and videographer and it is the aim to make a documentary style film of the entire expedition from early preparations to return journey. Regular updates & reports will be submitted and circulated to the general media and in particular to the wider mountaineering and climbing community and include Mountaineering Ireland, to the British climbing press, to both the Himalayan and the Alpine journals and on various social media and web platforms.
Because of the tight time-frame, the expedition is again using Adventure Mania (Raja in Kolkata) to provide logistical support. This will involve all necessary transport from Kolkata to the village of Mangan, porters to get us to base camp, cook at base camp, and the same for the return journey.
Total costs for the expedition though not excessive are still obviously high plus whatever extra equipment is needed to purchase (over and above what team members wish to supply). In particular, it is envisaged that some climbing rack & ropes, a number of expedition quality sleeping bags and tents, some high quality cold weather gear and a selection of specific high altitude & expedition food will need to be transported from Ireland.
The expedition has gained the fantastic support of a number of climbing associations both in Ireland and abroad as well as welcome support and backing from some equipment and gear manufacturers and retailers.

Equipment doesn’t come cheap and we are hugely appreciative and extremely grateful to the following brands and retailers for backing & supporting the Irish Sikkim Expedition 2016 and helping with the kitting out of the team and easing the burden of gear purchases.

A MASSIVE word of thanks to Rab
I’m sure our new sleeping bags will have us all toasty’n’warm, comfortable and cosy on the many possible chilly nights.…/sleeping…/neutrino-endurance-600-ss16

A Big word of appreciation also to Edelrid who have helped with the purchase of some of our super new lightweight dry-treated expedition ropes. Can’t wait to tie into these sleek babies!

Also a BIG BIG word of thanks to the ever helpful Paul Innes of CoreOutdoor who has been a really great supporter of the expedition and helped immensely with the sourcing of the above.

A huge thanks to our provider of High Altitude food from the great gang at Expedition Foods…

Lastly and by NO ways least we would like to say a kind & special word of praise and thanks to our official equipment partner and all round supporter – Nigel of Alpine Sports who has been a huge help throughout. Cheers mate ?

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Expedition team members: You can use the first two for expedition contact.

Jack Bergin, 00353 (0) 876493928
Piaras Kelly, 00353 (0) 877440523
Alan Tees, Sean Martin, Richard Creagh, Mick Donnelly, Damien Hawkins, Olga Joensuu