Ultra-runner and mountaineer, Hari Om, was among personnel from the Indian Navy who lost their lives in an avalanche near the Himalayan peak of Trishul in early October 2021.
At the time of writing, the bodies of four climbers – including Hari Om – had been retrieved. Search operations were on for another two expedition members, reported missing. According to the Indian Express (report dated October 2, 2021), a team of ten was caught in the avalanche.
Located in Uttarakhand, Trishul (7120m / 23,360ft), is among peaks that form the protective wall around Nanda Devi (7816m), the highest mountain wholly in India and noted worldwide for its magnificent setting.
It is believed that back in 1907, when it was first ascended by mountaineers, Trishul was the first peak above 7000m to be climbed so. In 1951, the peak hosted the first Indian mountaineering expedition following the country’s independence from the British.
The early climbing route on Trishul was from within the Nanda Devi sanctuary. Given the sanctuary has been closed for long, the route currently used lay outside the sanctuary. To approach this route one has to proceed via the village of Sutol. While the old route, which was a relatively straight forward climb had given Trishul the image of being a doable 7000m-peak, the route used at present is not in that league. “ Compared to the old one, it is difficult,” an experienced mountaineer, who has been on the peak, said. None of these technical aspects, however affect the image of Trishul on a photograph. Seen from select angles, it remains among the most beautiful peaks in the Himalaya.
This blog met Hari Om for the first time in 2016 in Leh, at that year’s edition of La Ultra The High. He was part of the Indian Navy’s ultramarathon team, participating in the event; he went on to finish third in the 111km category of the race.
In May 2017, he was among climbers reaching the top of Mt Everest as part of an Indian Navy expedition to the peak. He was among those selected for the Nao Sena Medal (devotion to duty) in 2018.
For more on Hari Om, please click on this link: https://shyamgopan.com/2018/03/22/sailors-dream/
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)