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Scaling unknown heights

Satish Kanna of Chennai was part of a team that climbed a yet-to-be-named peak in the Karakoram range


THOUGH AN Inspector of Naval Police, Satish Kanna spends most of his time climbing snow-swept mountains or trekking through misty valleys. That is nothing to marvel at. Having graduated with flying colours from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Kanna is one of the first few names that readily come to mind whenever a high-level naval committee chooses a team for a mountaineering expedition.

Kanna, who hails from Chennai, is now in the news along with five others for having reached a peak that is yet to be named. An Indian Navy-sponsored expedition, which began on September 17 and ended on October 9, took these men to this nameless peak that is 6560 metres high, in the East Karakoram range, about 145 km from Leh.

The climb, barring the distance from Base Camp [set up at the Parma pasturing fields] to Camp One, was arduous and at times risky. As the team shinned up, even the weather did its bit to unsettle them. When they stood atop the mountain, their bones were freezing as the mercury hit minus 20.

"From Camp One to the summit, we had to negotiate an uncomfortable angle of over 45 degrees. To make matters worse, there were hidden crevasses and howling winds," says Kanna, who suffered blood clots in his toes.

In what may strike you as unfair, the successful climbers were not allowed the pleasure of naming the peak. "We could only suggest names to The Survey of India, which will either pick one from the five or come up with its own," says Kanna, who was part of the naval team that climbed Mt. Everest through the more difficult North Col Route, earlier this year.

PRINCE FREDERICK

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