Friday, October 30, 2015

Mirella Tenderini at the Himalayan Club Kolkata on October 30th 2015

Landmark film on K2 to be screened in Kolkata
Jayanta Gupta,TNN | Oct 29, 2015, 01.37 AM IST
KOLKATA: Mountaineers, photographers and cine buffs in Kolkata will get a treat this Friday. The Himalayan Club, Kolkata Section, in collaboration with the Italian Consulate, will screen a film by renowned mountaineer and photographer Vittorio Sella, dating back to 1909.

Sella, whose photographs of mountains are considered the best in the world, shot the 35-minute film during a famous, though unsuccessful, attempt to scale the 8,611m-high Mount K2 (Godwin Austen) by Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi. The point till which the team reached is known as the Abruzzi Spur. The film will be screened at Rotary Sadan. 

K2 - the Abruzzi Route
"K2 is known as the 'Savage Mountain'. One can imagine the kind of effort it took in those days for a climber to carry a movie camera. Amedeo attempted the climb along the Baltoro Glacier. In the film, the last shot is of this glacier. Sella was unable to film after that as it was extremely slippery. Kolkata is lucky to have got this opportunity. The museum in Turin where the film is stored has granted permission for it to be screened only in this city," said mountaineering historian Mirella Tenderini, who will give a commentary during the screening of the silent film. Tenderini has written several books, including one on Amedeo. Her latest book was on K2.

When told by Himalayan Club vice-president Rupamanjari Biswas that K2 is out of bounds for Indian climbers due to political reasons, the historian said, "This is extremely sad. During my research, I realized that mountaineers had it easy before World War II. After the war, the geography of the world was re-written and restrictions were imposed."

She grew up in Milano and on Sundays, her family would take a train to the Alps. This is how her love for the mountains developed. A historian by profession, she married Luciano Tenderini, a climbing instructor and Alpine guide. With her late husband, she climbed the Alps and travelled extensively in Africa, climbing mountains and exploring deserts, where she still journeys to gather documentations for her books.

"I am in touch with mountaineers who have climbed Himalayan peaks. Young mountaineers treat me as a mother or grandmother and get in touch before setting out on an expedition and after returning from one. The Himalayas have the highest peaks and the higher the peak, the greater its history. Technology has helped youngsters take up new challenges. This has turned mountaineering into a sport and made things safer. However, the romantic side has gone missing. It is good for the families that a mountaineer can now call home from the Everest Base Camp. In the old days, people would travel by ship from Europe to India and then trek to the Himalayas. By the time their letters reached home, they were somewhere else. There was a mystery and adventure involved in this. However, I am all for technology as it saves valuable human lives. I urge all mountaineers to go ahead and climb, but return safe," she added. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rebuilding the villages of Kaule and Bhangeri in Nuwakot district Nepal- II

South Col Expeditions Earthquake support has been working with a team of architects to make a suitable prototype for the villages of Kaule and Bhangeri in Nuwakot district of Nepal.

Last week I had posted the progress made on this project and the links to a blog site which documents the work done so far.

The photos below give an idea of the new prototype to be constructed:

This is the site where it is proposed  to construct the new prototype with the building destroyed by the earthquake. The second photo (below) shows the same site with the new building:

We will update you further on the progress of the work very soon

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rebuilding the Villages of Kaule and Bhangeri in Nuwakot district Nepal

A pictorial report on a survey conducted for the villages of Kaule and Bhangeri in Sundara Devi VDC, Nuwakot District, from Sept 28 - Oct 2 2015, prior to Prototype Construction Training Workshop scheduled for Oct 25 - Nov 5. Please see the link below

Till Now...

Recce visit by Sujoy Das and Sharan Lal
April - May 2015
I was trying to get my
trekking team back to Kathmandu through the rubble and chaos that followed the shake, when  Sharan offered to help to find a design solution with a traditional approach to reconstruction.

In May 2015 Sharan and I  visited Kaule and Bhangeri - villages in Nuwakot District and home to our friends, porters and guides - led by the indomitable Santaman Tamang.

In this trip, corrugated Zinc Sheets donated by the trekking community from South Col Expeditions were distributed among the villagers. These would provide temporary shelter to the villagers and see them through the monsoon.

A report filed by me on the May 2015 recce visit can be found here:

and another one here:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Green Lakes Trek in North Sikkim

Off limit to trekkers for many years and rigidly controlled by a permit system, few have made it to the north east base camp of Kangchendzonga. I was fortunate to make two visits to Green Lakes, once way back in 1987 along with an Assam Rifles expedition to Kangchenjunga and again in 2014 leading a South Col trek to the Zemu Valley. These photographs are from the 2014  trek to this magical valley! For a route of this trek do visit

The north east face of Kangchenjunga from above the Green Lakes Base Camp

The forest between Jakthang and Yabuk

Siniolchu as seen from my tent at Rest Camp

Walking from Rest Camp to Green Lakes

Langpo Peak

The Zemu Glacier

The Twins at the back and Tent Peak in front

Useful Links

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mustang and Lo Manthang Trek | Photographs in Black and White

South Col Expeditions trekked to Mustang and Lo Manthang in April 2015. The account of our journey and return after the great Nepal earthquake is given in these two blog posts:



These are some photographs from that trek:

The village of Chusang

On the trail between Samar and Shyanbochen

The village of Ghilling

Entering Drakmar

Mani stones near Ghar Gompa

Rock inscription near Ghar Gompa

On the outskirts of Tsarang

Near the village of Drakmar

The Kali Gandaki near Kagbeni


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