Saturday, June 21, 2014

My first Pinnacle- Dhak Bahiri

It must be some time in 1986, that I wanted to lead my first climb. The options were Telbaila Right wall right route or the Pinnacle of Dhak Bahiri. Both offered around 100 ft of climbing. Equipment was scarce and I owned 150 ft of Garware rope, 1 Ice hammer and 5 carabiners (Steel) and 3 flimsy harnesses.
I had first climbed it with ‘Pune cubs’ couple of months ago, the group that included Prasad, Sanjay /Sushama Katti. It was easy scramble in the first pitch to reach the first anchor. Then a traverse with slight overhang at start to a ledge with around ~600+ ft of exposure. The ledge gets narrow at the escape point and its easy scramble to the top (I guess 50 ft).
Milind and Girish were keen. Girish and I had done our basic course in Mountaineering at NIM Uttarkashi. On one scheduled weekend (We had Thursday off) Girish could not make it and we had to postpone it to next week.
We travelled Pune-Kamshet and from Kamshet we took a bus to a village where we would stay for the night. The shelter was a temple at the village. At 11PM  in the night the villagers who had assembled at the temple and sang Bhajans and we got absolutely no sleep till 5AM. We packed our foldable straw mattresses and Sholapur chadar into our sacks and started the trek towards Dhak.
We climbed to a plateau and turned right to climb a hillock. Karvanda bushes bloomed and we had our bit of feast. The path then descended to the left and we could now see the pinnacle and Dhak fort.
We climbed up the col and took off our sacks. Clipped on the harness. (Three carabiners gone. Two left)
We had devised a self anchor using a sling with loop at end which we could slip into Carabiners at Belay points. I moved up to the first anchor. Milind followed to meet me at the wide flat ledge after removing the carabiner. Girish climbed up as well. Now I had to negotiate the traverse.
I pushed up and started climbing towards the right exposed face of the pinnacle. At the second anchor point I clipped my Carabiner on to the Piton. Milind followed me. I asked him to clip himself to the anchor.
NOTE: There was a rope running between me and Milind. We were perched on a ledge. And I was belaying Girish.
I yelled back to Girish to start climbing and he took off. Just after the overhang he moved on to a loose rock. The whole piece of rock dislodged and Girish yelled “Belay Tight”.
Girish took a 10 feet fall and hung below our ledge. The Rock ricocheted into the valley below and there were shouts from the villagers in the valley. We pulled Girish up the overhang. I pulled out my Zenit Camera and took a shot. It was an expression of fear and narrow escape. None of us had ever fallen off a rock. Milind wondered his fate if he had not anchored himself to the rock he could have been pulled off too and I would have been a lone person managing the weight of 2 “fallen”.
The next stretch was easy with very good hand holds. The only “problem” was that we were now on the 600+ feet of exposure. I moved to the end of the ledged and heaved myself. It was easy to get to the top. I clipped on the carabiner to an Iron stump and my friends followed.
On the way down I tied a piece of sling in a loop and our Rappel rope went into the loop the double rope was no 75 ft long. I remember that I did a side rappel (But with my carabiner looped into the rope)
It was an easy win. And we had learned to arrest a fall.

We took back the evening bus to Kamshet and then a Local train to Pune.