At the end of August Silvo Karo, Marko Lukić and Andrej Grmovšek traveled to Indian Garhwal Himalaya, with a wish to climb (in)famous and still unclimbed Meru Sharks Fin. This wall had turned away already more than 20 climbing expeditions and many strong teams. But in 2008 it was climbed just 150 meters below the summit by Anker, Chin and Ozturk. They spent 20 days on the wall, climbing in capsule style.
Those are Andrej’s impressions of the climb:
“Benefited with some beta from Anker’s team, we planed to climb the wall fast, light, in alpine style. After coming to BC in Tapoban we used changeable weather to prepare ABC, acclimatize on lower slopes of Shivling and study the wall. But already our second acclimatization was stopped by heavy snowfall, lasting almost a week. There was more than 1,5m of fresh snow in higher elevations and our ABC tent was totally destroyed.
After that the weather changed to quite stable and very cold. Even that the wall remained plastered in snow and ice, that we reached only 5600m on our first acclimatization we decided for an attempt on Sharks Fin. The weather forecast was quite good, further acclimatization on Shivling slopes in deep snow unsafe and our time was running out. Only the approach to the wall took as two laborious days of wading trough deep soft snow, excavating our ABC tent and equipment and crossing dangerous Meru glacier.
On 17th of September, one hour after midnight, we started with the climb. We planed to climb the wall in four days, bivouacking first night in the tent and then hoping to find some small ledges to sit-bivouac on the upper steeper part of the wall. On the lower snow slopes we found channels of quite hard snow and we were able to climb quite fast. After eight tiring hours of snow and ice climbing we finished with 700m initial snow slopes and started to climb rock on diagonal ramp. The rock was covered with snow on many places and climbing and route finding was harder than expected (to M8). The second two climbers had to joumar with all three persons stuff and our two tiny 9,1 mm Joker ropes got worn super fast on sharp granite edges. We were getting more and more tired and we finished with rock ramp just before the night.
We expected to find a good place to set the tent above the ramp, but finally we spent an hour only to cut a small sitting ledge in the snow and ice. After 19 hours of climbing we were so tired and unmotivated that we even didn’t melt snow for some drinks or cook some soups for us. The night was cold and uncomfortable and Silvo’s feet were dangerously cold – he got minor frostbites. Morning brought us sun and also simple decision – let's go down! We were tired, many things didn’t go as planed and the hardest part of the wall and climb was still above us. Our tactic was wrong: we were climbing too fast, we were too heavy, we had unsuitable equipment, we were not enough acclimatized and there wasn’t enough motivation in our team too!
In hard and complex climbs like Meru Sharks Fin definitely is, all this “beginners” mistakes counts up!”
Few photos of the climb: http://grmoclimb.net/?str=502&aid=32
and some other Garhwal shots: http://grmoclimb.net/?str=7&aid=46