Go back to Asia.
Going rock climbing in India has been on our minds for at least a decade. This had been initially motivated by my googling around and stumbling onto the cool looking Dukes Nose formation outside of Pune. Yet somehow the idea kept getting pushed out; in no small part, due to a lack of an available “fixer”. Our attempts at finding someone who was both familiar with the climbing scene and willing to commit to a two-ish week stint of babysitting were falling flat. At the same time, we were closely following the new route developments around Bangalore by the highly motivated folks at the Bangalore Climbing Initiatives and especially by Sohan Pavuluri (who was kind enough to send us both editions of the local climbing guidebook that he had authored). Given that nice looking routes were springing up every dry season, there was some incentive for us to hold off.
Shortly before Covid, we heard from Todd Swain about his and his wife’s trips to the country where they had established some new routes. It was Todd who put us in touch with Mohit Oberoi, a highly experienced, old-school climber and an all-around mountain athlete from Delhi. We contacted Mohit who, in turn, put us in touch with Punit. It seemed like we had finally found the person who ticked all the boxes. As a bonus, Punit turned out to be a great organizer, an all-around nice guy, and a coffee connoisseur. We got to enjoy some excellent pour-overs on most mornings during the trip.
Though the Bangalore area seemed to have the highest density of interesting routes, we also wanted to check out two additional climbing venues. First, some 4 or 5 years ago, I saw a couple of topos from a new area called Bansa in the state of West Bengal. More recently, I also got a whiff that our China fixer, Ola, had gone there and climbed with some locals including Sudipto Pal, the main person driving route development in the area. The final datapoint came from Todd who had also visited Bansa and established a couple of nice-looking routes. Second, we really wanted to climb the Original Route on the proud looking Dukes Nose formation by Lonavala in the state of Maharashtra – our original piece of India “bait”.
With these three boundary conditions in mind, a two-week trip, starting in Kolkata and ending in Mumbai, was thus planned out. Once again, Lufthansa screwed us over as they had cancelled our return trip from Mumbai to Portland four months before departure. This is the second time they had done something like that and so we now know not to use them for anything other than a simple hop to Europe.
The third sabbatical at my job finally rolled around and India was on.
RANCHI & MUMBAI
Go to Kolkata To Bansa.
Go back to Asia.