UNKNOWN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC YET A HEADACHE FOR WORLD’S FINEST CLIMBERS, MERU PEAK IS THE PLACE WHERE YOU CAN FIND ONE OF THE HARDEST CLIMBING ROUTES IN AN ENTIRE WORLD – THE SHARK’S FIN.
Name: Meru Peak
Height: 6,660 m (21,850 ft)
Location: in the Garhwal Himalayas, the Uttarakhand, India
First Climbed: southern and northern peaks - unknown; central – Valery Babanov in 2001
Climb Time: around 14 days (the Shark’s Fin)
Best Time to Climb: Fall
Meru Peak is a mountain that lies in the Garhwal Himalayas, in the Uttarakhand region of India. It resides between Thalay Sagar and Shivling and has some highly challenging routes.
There are two theories explaining how the name “Meru” came about. In Hinduism Mount Meru is considered to be the centre of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. In addition to that, some believe that Meru Peak was named after this sacred mountain. On the other hand, others explain that the name "Meru" originated from Sanskrit word for spine, attributing to the shape of the mountain.
Nevertheless, the mountain has three peaks: southern the highest - 6,660 m (21,850 ft), central - 6,310 m (20,700 ft), and northern - 6,450 m (21,160 ft). The two higher peaks were climbed earlier than the more challenging central peak, which was first climbed in 2001 by Valery Babanov.
Despite the fact that the central peak is the lowest of the three, it is the most famous as it has one of the most complicated routes in the world – the Shark’s Fin. Therefore, Meru Peak is mainly associated with the central peak of the mountain.
CLIMBING MERU PEAK.
Valery Babanov climbed the central peak creating a northern way to the top. It took him 6 days to ascent the central peak, but the whole expedition took him over 25 days.
While the northern route to the summit had been conquered, the Shark’s Fin was still considered unattainable, as many expeditions tried and failed in challenging it. Experienced climbers have tried and failed to climb the Shark’s Fin for 30 years. Finally, it was first climbed in October 2011 by a team consisting of Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk.
It took them 14 days to finish the whole expedition - 11 days to ascend and 3 to come down. As the trio were the first ones to conquer the Shark’s Fin, their accomplishment has been acknowledged by Guinness World Records. No one has done it ever since.
TREKKING AROUND MERU PEAK.
There are many treks that can be done from nearby towns. Options vary in trek’s duration and grade.
One of the best ranked routes in the whole Garhwal Himalayan region is Auden Col trek. It is also one of the toughest routes in the area. This 18 day trek stars from Gangotri and heads to Khatling glacier and despite being arduous is well-worth the view.
There is also a Kedarnath Vasuki Tal Trek, an easier and shorter 8 day trek. This trekking tour in Indian Himalayas commences from Gaurikund, a well-known destination celebrated for hot water sulphur springs. On the trek you can see many waterfalls, various peaks and Mandakini Valley. It ends at Vasuki Tal, known for its crystal-clear water.
The above mentioned trails are only examples of many routes that the region has to offer, so if you are interested in visiting Himalayas, it is a great place to go.