The Mountaineering Culture Studies Group Lecture Series. "Til-Mannered: Quest for the Tilman Spirit."
Anindya Mukherjee ‘Raja’ is an Indian alpinist who works as a mountaineering guide and trek leader in the Indian Himalaya. In the last twelve years he has participated in or led more than thirty expeditions to such technical peaks as Shivling (6,543 m), Satopanth (7,075 m), Parvati Parvat (6,257 m), Kamet (7,756 m), Trisul (7,120 m), and Manirang (6,593 m). In December 2011, he made the first documented ascent of Zemu Gap (in Sikkim, India) from the South, thus making his way through one of the last unsolved problems on the eastern flanks of the Kanchenjunga range. The same year he charted a new route to enter the fabled Nanda Devi Sanctuary. In 2013, he led a lightweight semi alpine style attempt on Nanda Devi East that came very close to reaching its summit. In recognition of his inventive and exploratory style, he was awarded the first Jagdish Nanavati Award for Excellence in Mountaineering by the Himalayan Club last year.
Of all the great Himalayan explorers of the last century, the British explorer, alpine mountaineer, and writer H.W.Tilman most captivates Anindya's imagination. In 2011, this admiration came to a head and a series of inspired journeys followed. In March 2011, Anindya retraced Tilman’s 1936 trails in reverse, through the ‘trackless vale of tears’ in North Sikkim. This journey, up the gorges of the mighty Talung River, acted as a prelude to the first documented ascent of Zemu Gap from the South in December that year. In August-September 2011, along with a few friends, he charted a new route on the formidable western walls of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. This discovery of a new pass that can act as an alternative to the legendary Shipton-and-Tilman Rishi gorge route into the sanctum sanctorum of Nanda Devi only further encouraged Anindya. In June 2012, Tilmanesque, he rode his bicycle from Nanyuki, Kenya, to Walvis Bay, Namibia; a journey of over 4,500 kilometres and across 5 countries. And one fine morning, while approaching the border of Zambia from Malawi, he decided to return to Nanda Devi--this time to climb the mountain. What followed in May 2013 is a lightweight semi-alpine style attempt on the east summit of Nanda Devi. ‘Til-Mannered’ is an illustrated talk on this three-year pilgrimage to the Tilman spirit.
Of course, the journey continues. On 19 March 2014, there will be a lunch and slideshow for those interested to discuss with Anindya his latest and upcoming mountaineering projects. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.