Kamet (Hindi: कामेत) is the second highest mountain in the
Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, after Nanda Devi. It lies in the
Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. Its appearance resembles a giant
pyramid topped by a flat summit area with two peaks.
2 Neighboring and subsidiary peaks
4 Partial timeline
5 Glaciers and rivers
6 High altitude research
7 See also
9 External links
Due to its position near the Tibetan Plateau,
Kamet is remote and not
as accessible as some Himalayan peaks. It also receives a great deal
of wind from the Plateau. However, by modern standards, it is a
relatively straightforward ascent for such a high mountain. Early
explorers of the region faced long approach marches of around 200
miles (321.9 km) from
Ranikhet through dense mountain forest;
access is easier today.
While attempts to climb
Kamet began in 1855, the first ascent was not
made until 1931 by Frank Smythe, Eric Shipton,
R.L. Holdsworth and
Lewa Sherpa, members of a British expedition.
Kamet was the first
summit over 25,000 ft (7,620 m) to be climbed, and was the
highest summit reached until the first ascent of
Nanda Devi five years
later. (However, far higher non-summit altitudes had been reached on
the north side of
Mount Everest in the 1920s.)
The standard route begins from the East
Kamet (or Purbi Kamet)
Glacier, ascending via Meade's Col (c. 7,100m/23,300 ft), the
Kamet and its northern outlier Abi Gamin. From Meade's
Col the route ascends the northeast edge of the north face. The ascent
to Meade's col involves steep gullies, a rock wall, and several
glacier climbs. Five camps are usually placed en route. The final
ascent to the summit involves steep snow, possibly icy.
Neighboring and subsidiary peaks
Kamet is surrounded by three principal neighboring or subsidiary
Mukut Parbat, 7,242 m (23,760 ft) Ranked 97th, prominence = 840
m, 30°57′08″N 79°34′13″E / 30.95222°N 79.57028°E
/ 30.95222; 79.57028, northwest of Kamet.
First ascent 1951 (see
below). The lower of Mukut Parbat's twin summit has an elevation of
7,130 m (23,392 ft).
Abi Gamin, 7,355m (24,130 ft), prominence = 217 m 30°55′57″N
79°36′09″E / 30.93250°N 79.60250°E / 30.93250;
79.60250, north-northeast of Kamet; connected to
Kamet by Meade’s
First ascent 1950.
Mana, 7,272m (23,858 ft)Ranked 92nd, prominence = 720 m,
30°52′52″N 79°36′57″E / 30.88111°N 79.61583°E /
30.88111; 79.61583, south-southeast of Kamet.
First ascent 1937.
Several adjoining peaks, such as Mana NW, 7,092 m, Point 6,977 m,
Deoban, 6,855 m, and Bidhan Parbat, 6,519 m, also lie close to
There are varying explanations of the name "Kamet." C. F. Meade gives
the pronunciation as /ˈkʌmeɪt/, and claims that it is known to
Tibetans as Kangmen, signifying "huge grandmother of a sacred snow
Frank Smythe writes in his book
Kamet Conquered that
the genesis of the name is from the Tibetan word Kangmed ("the lower
snows", from kang, "snow", and med, "little"), as distinct from the
"higher snows" of the Kailash range, 110 miles east of Kamet. (This
range is slightly lower than Kamet, its highest peak being Gurla
Mandhata, 7,728 m/25,355 ft; however it stands more fully on the
high Tibetan Plateau). At dawn and dusk, "the copper colored rock of
Kamet reflecting the oblique rays of the sun on its hanging
glaciers appears to set these glaciers aglow with crackling flames and
bathes the mountain in a red burning glow". Hence the term "glacier
fire" is also used as an allusion to the name Kamet.
1848: Richard Strachey determines the height and location of Kamet, as
well as the neighboring peaks Abi Gamin, Mukut Parbat, and Mana.
1855: German explorers and scientists Adolphe and Robert
Schlagintweit, invited by the East
India Company to make surveys,
travel into Tibet in disguise. After being discovered and arrested,
they return, and attempt
Abi Gamin from Tibet (via the Abi Gamin
Glacier), believing it to be Kamet. (This mistake hampers expeditions
until 1912.) They claim to reach a height of 6,785 m (22,260 ft),
which is extraordinary for this date.
1877: I. S. Pocock of the Survey of India, under E. C. Ryall,
accurately surveys Kamet's position. However, he supports the
inaccurate belief that
Abi Gamin is a minor subpeak of
Kamet and that
a northern route to the summit is practical.
1907: Dr. T. G. Longstaff, Brig. Gen. C. G. Bruce and A. L. Mumm, with
alpine guides Alexis and Henri Brocherel, make a preliminary
reconnaissance of the eastern and western sides of Kamet. The highest
point reached is 6,100 m (20,000 ft) above the East Kamet
Glacier. Longstaff deems the East
Kamet route as too dangerous due to
1910-1911: C. F. Meade, with Alpine guides Alexis Brocherel and Pierre
Blanc, and a separate expedition under Dr. A. M. Kellas, make a
preliminary reconnaissance of the western side of the peak; they
explore Khaiam Pass and Glacier.
1911: Capt. A. M. Slingsby attempt
Kamet on the western side from
Ghastoli Glacier (or West
Kamet Glacier) via the col on the ridge
Abi Gamin and Mukut Parbat (subsequently named as Slingsby’s
Col, 6,400 m/21,000 ft).
1912: Meade, with Alpine guides Franz Lochmatter of
St. Niklaus in the
canton Valais, Pierre Blanc, Justin Blanc and Jean Perrin, attempts
Kamet by Slingsby's route, and also later explores the Raikhana
glacier system to the east of Kamet. Meade concludes that the East
Kamet Glacier is the only practicable route to Mt Kamet's summit.
1913: Slingsby attempts the same route as in 1911 and reaches 7,000 m
(23,000 ft). (He later dies in battle in
Mesopotamia in 1916.)
1913: Meade, with Alpine guide Pierre Blanc, attempts
Kamet from the
eastern side and reaches Meade’s Col, 7,138 m. (23,420 ft).
1914: Kellas makes another reconnaissance of which no records are
available, and which is probably abandoned midway due to the
commencement of World War I.
1920: Kellas and Col. H. T. Morshead attempt Meade's 1913 route and
reach a point slightly above Meade’s Col.
1931: The first ascent of Kamet, detailed above.
Frank Smythe returns to the Bhyundar Valley and makes the solo
first ascent of Mana on 12 August, through its south ridge from the
plateau at the head of the Uttari Naktoni glacier. His companion
P.R.Oliver stopped exhausted at 23000'.
1950: An Anglo-Swiss expedition ascends
Abi Gamin from its North East
1951: Mukut Parbat is climbed via the steep northwest ridge by a crack
New Zealand team that includes Edmund Hillary, George Lowe
(mountaineer), H. E. Riddiford (leader), F. M. Cotter and Pasang Dawa
Lama. Summitters were Riddiford, Cotter and Pasang Dawa Lama.
1955: An Indian expedition from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
in Darjeeling makes the second ascent of
Kamet on 6 July. Major
Narendra D. Jayal led the party; Jayal, Ang Tharkay, Da Namgyal, Ang
Temba, and Hlakpa Dorje comprised the summit team. Their route
followed the ridge linking
Abi Gamin and Kamet.
1966: Mana is climbed on 19 September by a new route, the NW ridge
Kamet glacier which had rebuffed Smythe in 1937, by Pranesh
Chakraborty, Pasang Phutar, Tshering Lhakpa, Pasang Tshering from Camp
Kamet was scaled by Mountaineering Club from Mumbai - Girivihar
on 11 June 1986. Leader - Shrikant Oka, Summiters - Anil Kumar and
1995: Mana Northwest is scaled by members of a joint Indo-Tibetan
Border Police–Japanese expedition after a tough technical wall
2000: To mark the turn of century, Ruptaps Mountaineering Club from
Asansol, West Bengal climbed
Kamet on 3 October 2000. The summiters
were Leader Gautam Mukherjee and Jasjeet Singh.
2006: A commemorative 75th anniversary expedition by the Kolkata
Section of the Himalayan Club puts ten climbers on the summit of
Kamet. (First ascensionist
Frank Smythe was a Himalayan Club member.)
2008: The southeast face(6,000 ft) was climbed for the first time
by two Japanese climbers,
Kazuya Hiraide and Kei Taniguchi.
2010: An avalanche kills Lt Col C. Poornachandra and Maj Manish
Gusain. They were a part of a 41-member Indian army team led by Col
2012: The southwest face(2,000 m) was climbed for the first time by
four French climbers, Sébastien Bohin, Didier Jourdan, Sébastien
Moatti and Sébastien Ratel, following a route that they called Spicy
Glaciers and rivers
The West (Pachmi or Paschimi)
Kamet Glacier, the East (Purbi or Purva)
Kamet Glacier and the Raikana Glacier systems surround Kamet. The
branches of the West
Kamet Glacier head on the western slopes of
Kamet, Abi Gamin, and Mukut Parbat. The East
Kamet Glacier flows from
the eastern side of
Kamet and Mana. The Raikhana glacier originates on
the east side of Meade’s Col saddle, flows east of Abi Gamin, and
unites with the East
Kamet Glacier. The West
Kamet Glacier drains into
the Saraswati River while the East
Kamet Glacier feeds the Dhauliganga
River; both rivers are tributaries of the Alaknanda River, the major
river of the Chamoli district.
High altitude research
A. M. Kellas and his companion H. T. Morshead conducted scientific
studies during their 1920
Kamet expedition focusing on the physiology
of high altitude travel and acclimatization, and on the possibility of
using supplemental oxygen. These studies eventually proved useful on
expeditions to Mount Everest.
List of Himalayan peaks of Uttarakhand
^ a b c "High Asia I: The Karakoram, indian Himalaya and India
Himalaya (north of india)". Peaklist.org. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
^ a b c Joydeep Sircar, Himalayan handbook, Calcutta 1979
^ Frank Smythe,Valley of Flowers, Hodder & Stoughton 1938
^ Himalayan Journal Vol.17, p.42
^ MOUNTAIN WORLD 1956/57, p.143
^ American Alpine Journal, 1956, p. 142.
^ Much-Eyed Face on
Kamet Finally Climbed - Climbing magazine
^ Kamet, Spicy Game, 2012 - Himalaya Masala
Meher Mehta (Vice President, Himalayan Club), "The Lure of Kamet," in
Kamet Commemorative Souvenir, Kolkata Section, Himalayan Club,
2006; 160 pages. (Commemorating 75 years after the first ascent; an
exhaustive anthology of articles by famous mountaineers, plus maps,
routes and rare historical photographs, including those taken by Frank
Neate, Jill (1989). High Asia: An illustrated guide to the 7,000 metre
peaks. The Mountaineers. ISBN 0-89886-238-8.
H. Adams Carter, "Classification of the Himalaya," in the American
Alpine Journal, 1985.
The Himalayan Index
Kamet on Peakware