Assam Himalaya -
east, the thickly wooded valleys of Arunachal Pradesh have not been much
explored. The only areas which are visited often are in the Tawang valley,
famous for its monastery. Tilman visited the area in 1939 and wrote of his
experiences in Assam Himalaya Unvisited. In 1913
F.M. Bailey and H. T. Morshead had made an attempt to reach the base of
Gorichen. The route was named as the 'Bailey Trail'. In 1962 the Chinese
came down this trail and the ensuing war put this area out of bounds for
civilians. The army has constructed' ALGs' (Advance Landing Grounds) to
guard the area, avoiding the overgrown valleys. In recent years the peak
of Gorichen has been climbed by different routes. Routes to Kangto and
Nyegi Kangsang have also been explored. But still a lot remains to be seen
and done here.
In Arunachal Pradesh the expedition to Nyegi Kangsang in 1995 became mired
in controversy. It was an expedition led by Col M P Yadav and sponsored by
the IMF. This peak is on the border of unknown Arunachal Pradesh and
Tibet. The team crossed into Tibet and the summiteers reached a point
about 600 m lower than the real summit. Faced with evidence and studies
this time the leader and summiteers had to admit that this was the case.
Dr M S Gill the President of IMF, who stood for the truth of climbs during
his tenure, did everything to set correct records.
Every range has its share of controversies. Indian climbers had more than
its share perhaps. I must record the second of the 'jewels' after the
Claim of ascent of Nilkanth in 1961 by a team led by Col N Kumar most
infamous episodes. This expedition had no perspective of this peak and its
summit ridge which they claimed to be a 'gentle trudge'. A 'first ascent'
was claimed on 13 june. When faced with substantial evidence by J.C.
Nanavati, President Emiritus of the Himalayan Club, the bureaucracy moved
to defend itself. Then President of the IMF H.C. Sarin remained adamant
not to accept the findings under political pressures. In fact even the
Himalayan Journal also, rather curiously, did not record the correction
until Soli Mehta and myself were editors late in the seventies. F or the
past four decades the world has accepted the fact that of non ascent while
officially it remains otherwise.