US team to scale three Alpine peaks in West Sikkim

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Gangtok, Mar 6 (UNI) A four member US mountaineering team will be embarking on an 23 day expedition to scale three Alpine peaks in West Sikkim from tomorrow.

Sikkim Amateur Mountaineering Association (SAMA) executive member Barap Namgyal Bhutia told UNI that the US team is targetting the 6010 mts Mt.Thingchinkhang, 5930 mts Mt Jopunu and 5830 mts Frey's Peak.

The US expedition is led by Samuel Dean Garderner (46) and includes Andrew S Philips (34), Sarah Margett (32) and Joshua E Smith (42), said Bhutia. The team will be reaching Yuksom, West Sikkim tomorrow and proceed upwards to set up an advanced base camp at Khenzing by March 12, he said.

Supported by one guide, one liaison officer, two Sherpa, yaks and other crew, the US team will be then climbing to Camp 1 and Camp 2 from the base camp to reach the summit, informed Bhutia.

The US team will attempt to scale Mt Thingchinkhang first and then Mt Jopunu.

If they have time left and their physical conditions ready for more, then only they will attempt the last peak, Frey's Peak, said Bhutia.

The expedition has been organized by Sikkim Holidays, Tours and Expeditons of which Bhutia is the managing director.

Alpine peak expeditions is slowly picking up in the Himalayan state of Sikkim. Last year, there was a flurry of expeditions by adventure lovers from US, UK, Sweden and other foreign nations.

Stakeholders have said that Sikkim is ripe for mountainous tourism with its abundance of virgin peaks all of moderate and top height ranging above 5,500 m.

Five new alpine peaks were declared open for climbing by the Sikkim government in 2005. They are Frey Peak (5830 m), Thingchinkhang (6010 m), Jopuno (5936 m) in West Sikkim and Lama Wangden (5868 m) and Brumkhangse (5635 m) in North Sikkim. Sikkim government earns a revenue of USD 350 for a group of 4 and USD 500 for group of 8 with an extra USD 75 each for any additional member in these expeditions.


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