THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For some mountaineers, climbing a mountain is not enough. They need to climb two. A mountaineer from Kerala, Preetham Menon, had set out on a back-to-back expedition knowing that it won’t be easy. Five days. That was all the breather Preetham Menon got after coming back from Mulkila 5, to set out for the peak of Chandra Bhaga 14. Barely enough to flex your muscles and rest your cramps. He shares his story.
The first expedition was not successful. “We were trying to find a new route up to the summit of Mt. M5 (Mulkila 5). Unfortunately, the summit eluded us as the icy slopes were riddled with crevasses big enough for an entire school bus to go through,” says Preetham.
Preetham says that one needs both time and money to handle a challenge like M5. But with all the steel ladders that you can get, it still is a risky game, as a crevasse could be deeper than you think it is. M5 was a glacier, with crevasses aplenty. Moreover, it was unchartered territory. One would consider it lucky to return home alive.
Chandra Bhaga had a different set of challenges. A rock and ice peak, the climb was dangerously slippery, recalls Preetham.
The expedition started on August 8, and the aim was to complete it on Independence Day. But on August 13, they arrived at the peak. “Up there, when you get a window you take it. The weather changes constantly. People fall ill. Waiting for Independence Day was not advisable,” says Preetham.
In the second expedition, he had Malayalis for company. The Kerala team was led by Kannan M, Special Officer, National Adventure Academy, which functions under State Youth Welfare Board. They were from Munnar.
A year ago, Preetham had gone with an all-Malayali team, to Mt Jaonli, which was a technically difficult peak. Like M5, crevasses were frequent, and all, but one member, abandoned the expedition. However one does not linger on the disappointing past.
“Every mountain teaches you something about yourself. Out there, everything is raw. When the climb starts, the fear sets in. However, when the expedition ends, you would want to climb another peak,” says Preetham, a sales and marketing professional from Viyyur.