It is only in the past decade that rock climbing in India has really picked up; with more people getting exposed to the sport. However, climbing in India is still restricted to the few climbing gyms that have come up in major cities such as Delhi and Bangalore. With bouldering being the most practised discipline, climbers in the nation are still oblivious to the rigors and draw of trad climbing in India. The foundation of modern rock climbing, trad climbing involves ascending routes that haven’t been bolted by placing gear (called pros). The purpose of the gear is to only provide protection in case of a fall.
For some reasons, there is only a handful of climbers in the country that practise traditional climbing techniques. Primary being, the unavailability of trad climbing gear, the lack of know how about the methods and limited development of climbing places in India. It is in this nascent climbing scene, that Rohit Vartak and Ganesh Geedh are really making a mark. Avid trad climbers, the duo is continually pushing the limits of the sport. In 2015, they made a speed simul climb ascent of Duke’s Nose upper wall (300 feet) in about 30 minutes.
Not stopping at just that, Rohit and Ganesh have been continually exploring new climbing routes. The latest addition being a 300 feet long crack climb in Sahyadris, which the duo has named Gajraj. Appropriately christened for the size of the climb, Gajraj literally means ‘the elephant king’ (also a popular name for Hindu God Ganesha). The crack is situated on the Pahine side of Anjaneri fort in Nashik (Maharashtra). It was first climbed in the April of 2016.
In the section below, we bring to you a photo narration of the first ascent of Gajraj, captured by the Cinematography Lead at 4Play – Shivam Aher
- Unloading gear at roadhead.
- Gajraj Wall in sight.
- Setting up the base of the climb.
- Ganesh leading on the lower pitches.
- Rohit Vartak on the upper pitches.
- The Duo, about to nail a first ascent on the route.
The climb was also supported by:
Ishani Sawant, Parag Sarode, Samir Joshi and Pranav Wamanacharya.
Author: Sukrit Gupta
An avid climber, ultrarunner and day dreamer, Sukrit is a fan of everything that is self-managed and solo. A flag bearer for self sufficiency and pushing beyond limits, he loves to spend his time slithering over rock faces and devising cruel trail running courses in his mountainous backyard in Manali.