Srinagar: The nine member team of JKMAC have become third ever group to scale challenging Tatakooti peak in Pir Panjal Range.
The group lead by Ghulam Mohammad (Gullu) and Arshad Majid successfully summited the Tatakooti peak on September 24.
It is third ever successful summit of the 4750 m altitude peak that was first summited by Dr Ernest Neve and C.E. Barton in 1901. The second summit was carried out by team of Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports in 2021.
The JKMAC group included Gullu, Arashid Majid, Taous Baba, Haziq Beigh, Zeeshan Mushtaq, Mudasir Bashir Shah, Khursheed Beigh,Ahsan Mohsin and Tanveer Dar.
Distance Covered: 37.57 km
Highest altitude: 4750 m (garmin)
A brief history:
Tatakooti peak lies on the South Western side of the Kashmir Valley and is the highest peak of Pir Panjal Range, bounding the valley from South West. Dr Ernest Neve, a renowned mountaineer and medical missionary officer, in his book Beyond the Pir Panjal describes the peak as “ the most conspicuous and imposing of all the peaks of Pir Panjal range is undoubtedly Tatakooti peak, the pyramidal shape of which with a central notch and very steep and jagged western and northern sides, makes it look as if it might be exceedingly difficult to ascend.”
It was Dr Neve who attempted to scale the peak in 1900, reaching about three-quarters of the way up the final peak. The next year in Aug 1901, Neve, with his partner C.E. Barton made the first successful ascent of the peak via its South Eastern side. In 2018 JKMAC club members, under the leadership of late Adil Shah, were able to summit its southern peak while doing a recce of the route leading to the main peak.
After a gap of 120 years, a team from the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM&WS) made the second successful ascent of the peak via its North East side.
On 24th September 2022, a team of JKMAC members, under the leadership of Gh. Mohammad Wani ( Gullu) and Arashid Majid marked the third successful ascent of the peak.
Gh. Mohammad Wani ( Gullu), a professional mountaineer and Skier from Tangmarg, was also part of the JIM&WS team, who successfully made the second attempt at the peak.
After the Kolohoi expedition of 2018, JKMAC decided undertake major mountaineering expeditions for the trained members of the club alongside sunday day trek for adventure enthusiasts
A nine-member JKMAC team was flagged off for the expedition by club president Mr Mouzam Bakshi in the presence of Mr Mahmood Ahmad Shah from TRC, Srinagar.
At Doodhpathri, the team loaded all the necessary equipment, ration and other essential stuff on the horses and began hiking towards the base camp at Domail in Ashtar Valley. A 15 km hike traversing through the forests and endless meadows of Pir Panjal. At around 3 pm, the team finally reached the basecamp and pitched their tents. Following an early dinner, members decided to sleep early and go for the summit push in the early hours next morning.
In the early hours of 24th September, around 3:30am the team left the base camp for the summit push. The first plan of action was to reach the Eastern shoulder of the peak, a 500 m elevation gain from the base camp through rough terrain. As per our research, the gully up to the shoulder should have been covered with snow. However, the team was encountered with a snow less gully making it more challenging to ascend. This secree (small loose rocks) accompanied by incessant light rockfalls added to the challenges of the climb. The region has changed tremendously and for the worse from the time of Dr Neve’s exploration. Drastically receding snow cover makes the region increasingly more dangerous and uncertain.
Finally reaching the shoulder, the team decided to climb up the Eastern Ridge that could be seen connecting to a distant end. As members followed this route, rock conditions became more stable and one could identify the ridge leading upto the summit. The team finally reached the tatakotti summit at 10:00 am. Dr Neve’s noting what he believed to be the first ascent of the peak describes the summit point as “sharp, being formed by two blocks of trap rock standing on end, immediately below which was a vein of pure white quartz”. Members could also located Magroorsar lake in the South Eastern direction from the Summit.
With a brief halt at the summit, members started descending at 10:30 am. Owing to the unstable rock conditions, members had to come down slowly to avoid triggering any major rockfall. The team finally reached the base camp at 3:00 pm, making this expedition the third successful attempt and the first civilian attempt of the Tatakooti peak.