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Irshal Pinnacle Climbing

9th April 2006

East Face of IrshalOne of the prominent rocky hillock standing high in the vicinity between Panvel & Chowk. I have always wondered about the place and have eagerly waited for an opportunity to visit the place. Finally I got an opportunity to climb this rocky boot shaped pinnacle. But this was not a routine event since Bhramanti has climbed 3 consecutive pinnacles in the last 3 Sundays. This is the first time we had ever attempted such a venture, actually it is to recover our climbing backlog of this year.

We traveled Saturday afternoon from CST by a local Train to Karjat. From Karjat traveled 12km to the village 'Nanivali'. From Nanivali another 3 colleague of our team joined us to move ahead. From this village it’s an hours trek to Irashal Wadi which has around 25 huts and a school. By the time we reached there it was 10:30pm. The village dog had sensed us from 1 mile and already made a note by barking and alerted the villagers. They were aggressive when we reached near the hutments. But the villagers unquestioningly welcomed us by offering us water & started enquiring about our whereabouts. We decided to stay in the village school premises. It was a moonlit night. And in spite of the cold wind wave we had sweat a lot on the way, carrying our climbing equipment load. We had some food with freshly made lemon tea on chulha (traditional stove using dry wood).

The next day morning was a surprise to see all known places in the surrounding. Prabalgadh on the North, Matheran was on the North-west, Manekgadh on the south & Karnala on the West side. After Tea & Breakfast we started off to reach the climbing base, it took 45 min to get there. As per our plan of action we decided to climb Irshal using the same traditional route till the 2nd patch & then took a call whether to climb vertical wall or easy traverse.

The Final Climb
Our Entire Team was Kaivalya, Rajan (Myself), Hemant, Sonali, Kapil, Sushil, Pankaj, Apurva, Parag, Rishi & Suresh. Out of these Suresh had some work, so he left early after the climb started. Kaivalya was in lead role and started at 11:30am. The first patch was of around 40ft vertical easy climb then further 110ft walk towards the rock wall. After reaching here we decided to climb the vertical wall instead of other route which is of 100ft traverse to the left keeping the pinnacle on right. The Vertical climb was of around 75ft. Kaivalya fixed 3 anchors on the vertical and horizontal crack using Choks & Friends. And then I took the lead to tackle the overhang to reach the summit. I was on the summit at 2:05pm. Then the members sequence followed the fixed rope route to complete the team summit. We closed the climb by 6:00pm and spent some time at the base where a water cistern helped us quench our thirst and the sandwiches made by the support team brought us back to life. It was enjoyable day for us and first time ever had water melon in the middle of such an activity. We returned back to the base village by 9:00pm and then set off home to Mumbai. It was Bhramanti's 20th Pinnacle & my 19th Pinnacle summit. The figure 19 has increased my hunger and encourages me to have more digesting capacity of climbs. Hope we will make it as I have full confidence on our ever growing climbing team to succeed in this venture.

21 st April 2006

West Face crack.

This route identified by Kaivalya Varma.

3 Pitch Climb:

1st Pitch 40 ft easy scree walk. Natural Anchor (Tree). One has to tackle a 10 ft chimney using the tree in between. At the end of the patch Bolt fixed can be used for anchoring.

2nd Pitch 40 ft Difficult crack on has to climb skillfully specially the Overhang. Choks & Friends can be used for protection. No firm anchor at the end of the patch.

3rd Pitch One can either continue further till the summit or take the left scary travers which is walking on a very thin loos scree. I am not sure whether this rain can keep the ridge intact. One should take precaution to while crossing. Then the big rock can be used for anchoring. Then further no need to descend down since one can walk down towards Irshal side.

One can stay in the cave for a night having potable water all days of the year.

Our Lead climber was Kishore and 2nd man was myself. Rest of the Team supported us. It took 2 days to accomplish the task due to opening new route. One can complete in a day too.

Written By: Rajan Rikame

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