57 Photos - Feb 4, 2014
Photo: Richard Kher and Ajit Bobhate starting our journey from Matunga to CST on a local train.Photo: Ketan Vaidya and Sunny Jamshedji starting our journey from Matunga to CST on a local train.Photo: Victoria Terminus during the end of the day rush hour just before boarding our train to Asangaon.Photo: Ajit Bobhate in the foreground, fortunately sitting on the train during the 2.5 hour journey to Asangaon on a fast local train.Photo: Richard Kher and the top of Ketan Vaidya's head (Taklu) sitting on the train during the 2.5 hour journey to Asangaon on a fast local train.Photo: Richard Kher being bindaas (must be the origination of "badass"), sitting on the tailgate of the jeep on the way to Mahuli Village.Photo: Sunny Jamshedji, Ajit Bobhate and Ketan Vaidya in the back of a jeep on our way to Mahuli village.Photo: Richard Kher, Sunny Jamshedji and Ajit Bobhate eating a simple village meal before going to bed. Rice chappatis (tortillas) with two typical vegetable dishes. By the time we realized we needed to take a picture, we were done!Photo: Filling 25L of water before heading up. Yes, that is a cup made from a plastic bottle we found on the ground. Yes, that is garbage beside our water source. No, we did not filter the water before drinking it! Sunny Jamshedji, Guru and Ajit Bobhate. (Courtesy Richie Kher)Photo: Early morning hiking in the dark as we made our way up to Bhatoba. Carrying the water was a pain!Photo: Ketan Vaidya and Ajit Bhobhate at first light as we slogged our way up to Bhatoba.Photo: Ajit Bobhate, Richard Kher and Ketan Vaidya taking a short chow break at first light with our guide Guru in the background.Photo: First views of the Liberty Bell-shaped Bhatoba in the early morning light.  Mahuli Fort is on top of the buttress on the right, with a couple of other pinnacles in between. (Courtesy Richie Kher)Photo: Clearing the saddle to create a great bivy spot for our next two nights. Since we were the first climbers of the season, we had to clear away the the past monsoon's grass  growth.Photo: Bhatoba Pinnacle with the offwidth route clearly visible from our camp.Photo: Eating our packed lunch that was brought by Guru. Rice chappatis and spicy vegetables today!Photo: The crew just after we settled into our bivy spot and before Guru left us to our madness. Richie Kher, Ketan Vaidya, Sunny Jamshedji, Guru and Ajit Bobhate. (Courtesy Richie Kher)Photo: Sunny Jamshedji watching intently as Richie Kher climbs his first aid pitch. It was hairy walking on these steep, slippery, grass-covered slopes with the valley 1,500' below the pinnacles. (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Sunny Jamshedji giving late afternoon belay instructions to Ketan Vaidya with Richie Kher looking on intently, before we take off to do the first pitch. (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Richie Kher making his first aided moves off an old bolt into an offwidth using an aider and Metolius Easy Daisy. (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Richie Kher making some full-on chimney moves as he makes his way up the maw to the P1 ledge. (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Richie Kher looking up to the rest of the route as he moves through the P1 chimney. It's big! (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Richie Kher belaying from P1 ledge as Ketan Vaidya follows through the single-bolt aid section. The pack was heavy and it got the better of him after a while. (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Richie Kher looking dapper early in the morning! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: More early morning instructions for Richie Kher and Ajit Bobhate on how to use a cordelette in an anchor. Yes, that's me (Sunny Jamshedji) with the balaclava liner and fleece ... as usual! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Sunny Jamshedji, Ajit Bobhate, and Richie Kher, all ready to take on Bhatoba in "alpine" style. Ajit's term coined for the way we did it, compared to how pinnacles are usually done! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Richie Kher, Ajit Bobhate, and Sunny Jamshedji, geared up and confident, yet dwarfed by Bhatoba and the gash they were just about to climb! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Ajit Bobhate belaying us up on TR as we got to the P1 ledge on day two. Mahuli Fort buttress is behind him with the detached Mahuli Baan pinnacle on the right; another target for another day. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Sunny Jamshedji getting TR'd up to the P1 ledge.  We had left a rope behind on the first day as we ocould not figure out how to descend/ascend through the overgrowth. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Alley Oop!  Richie Kher gives Ajit Bobhate a shoulder lift to clip the first aid bolt. I (Sunny Jamshedji) basically fell from where Ajit's head is and although I landed flat on my back, incredibly, I did not get hurt due to the rope stretching just enough to break my fall, but not to kill me!Photo: Ajit Bobhate pulling through the offwidth section after the first aid bolt. The flake in the crack made for good handjams and free climbing until the edge of it broke and threw me (Sunny Jamshedji) out.Photo: Ajit Bobhate making his way up the first offwidth section having aided his way through a bolt his team had placed on his previous summit attempt in 2012. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Ajit Bobhate having spectacularly climbed to the cramped half pitch belay with Richie Kher and Sunny Jamshedji on the P1 ledge.  The maw gets wider above him! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Sunny Jamshedji making his way up after aiding through the start and then into the first offwidth section. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Ajit Bobhate made his way up to the comfortable P2 belay ledge before Richie Kher (on P1 ledge) made his way up to Sunny Jamshedji on the cramped half ptich belay stance. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Sunny Jamshedji belyaing Richie Kher up to the half pitch belay, while Ajit Bobhate gets comfortable on the belay ledge, banging in a piton and a peg and a couple of backup cams for the P2 belay anchor. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Richie Kher and Sunny Jamshedji. Happy, Happy.  Wait till the next section starts! The full-on chimney brings back memories of the Steck-Salathe in Yosemite! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Richie Kher making his first full on off-width chimney moves as he tries chicken-winging his way up P2.  This was a tough spot and after several tries decided jugging was the better way to go! I don't blame him!Photo: Richie Kher jugging his way up P2 while Ajit Bobhate takes photos and Sunny Jamshedji relaxes. It is getting late. Water and headlamps have been left behind at the previous belay! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Richie Kher arriving at the P2 ledge after jugging up.  Ketan Vaidya is taking picutres from the ground just to his right, while our bivy spot with the tent is just left of his head. Chitchatting after a gruesome pitch!Photo: Ajit Bobhate squirming up the dirty, overhanging and slippery P3 in good form. He worked his way across and up the bushes to the right to the next ledge. This is a video grab, so not as clear.Photo: Ajit Bobhate making his way through the P3 off-width. Slightly overhanging, dirty and slippery. Sunny Jamshedji, concentrating on the belay with lots of raining rocks. Richie Kher was clowning around until he got hit by a softball-sized rock! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Ajit Bobhate pulling through another off-width section with big-hands jams in the back. He probably was not using them, but he did this section spectacularly, again! (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: The route can clearly be seen, up the main crack to the P1 ledge, then to the sloping P2 ledge, another ledge to the right where there is a bolt, and then to the top where there is a slab to a very large cactus. Then, the route takes a short pitch to the right and then another shorter pitch left to the summit. Richie Kher and Sunny Jamshedji are on the P2 slopey belay, while Ajit Bobhate has disappeared under the cactus above the last wide crack.  (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Ajit Bobhate driving pegs into the dirt as the grass was too slippery to go up. Next time, we're taking our climbing shoes off and going barefoot, which might just be easier!Photo: Ajit Bhobate on the summit belay. Tired, yet ecstatic. Nice bush anchor! He's a poser!Photo: Bhatoba Pinnacle summit shot of Sunny Jamshedji and Ajit Bobhate with the Mahuli Fort in the background.Photo: Guru, waiting anxiously, yet patiently as the sun sets on the team. He ended up staying the night as we descended after dark. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: Great view of Mahuli Fort from high up on Bhatoba.  A flag marks the fort and several hikers thought our communication was us trying to get their attention.  It was several minutes of shouting back and forth before they got the idea that we weren't talking to them!Photo: Early morning with Guru looking at Bhatoba, Richie Kher in his sleeping bag, Sunny Jamshedji hidden in his bivy sack and Ketan still in tent. (Courtesy Ajit Bobhate)Photo: Huge Sahyadri bumble bee just before we left. (Courtesy Ketan Vaidya)Photo: A lady, at least in her fifites, carrying firewood out of the forest.  I'm sure it was heavier than our packs even on the way up and she was balancing it on her head! This is a coomon rural sight, due to the lack of cheap fuel in these areas.Photo: Last views of Bhatoba Pinnacle and the Mahuli Fort buttress as we make our way home. Still several hours to go.Photo: Me (Sunny Jamshedji) in a sneak shot of our lady bus conductor, which is apparently a rare sight in India. The state transport bus took us from Mahuli Village to Asangaon for the train ride back to Mumbai.Photo: Podar College climbing wall 1.Photo: Podar College climbing wall 2.Photo: Bhatoba Pinnacle is the large bell shaped pinnacle just right of center. Mahuli Fort is on top of the right-most buttress.