SINGAPORE EXPEDITION LEADER RAJIV RAJI KOUL
Singapore climbers return from North
By Asem Mustafa Awan
ISLAMABAD – "We have unfinished business in Karakorums and we
will certainly come back," said Grant Rawlinson member of the
Singapore winter mountaineering expedition which is leaving for home after
an unsuccessful bid on two under 6000 metres peak.
Thirty-five year old Rajiv Raji Koul member of the Singapore
Mountaineering Federation led the expedition.
It was the first time that any Singapore expedition came on
Pakistani soil with climbing credentials of Nepal, Scotland, America,
Canada and Indian mountain ranges.
"The weather was very cold and it was well over minus 30 and on
both peaks we exercised better judgment then to push our luck," said
Rajiv adding," The expedition reached all its objectives which were
introducing and exposing the Singapore climbers at the new horizons of
extreme winter climbing and develop a good relationship with Pakistan
"Our experiences have been very enriching," said Rajiv who
has climbed in Nepal, America, Canada and India.
The five member team took two peaks of 6000 metres. The first peak
was Shalmina Sar on Batura Glacier having Base Camp at 3700 metres.
The expedition adopted Alpine Style with Advance Base Camp at 3900
metres and managed 5400 metres, 600 metres below the summit.
Twenty-six year old Grant Rawlinson member of the expedition having
experience of climbing in Scottish winter climbing said," The weather
was too cold minus 35 degrees and the snow near the summit was thigh deep
with avalanche hazard."
"We decided not to put a high camp due to extreme cold
The second peak expedition encountered was Shufkateen Sar in
Shimshal having 5400 metres summit. Grant reached the highest point with
5200 metres before calling it a day.
Rajiv managed around 5100 metres and fearing frost bite of his
fingers he returned back.
"The snow was chest high and temperature were minus 40 degrees
during our stay at the peak."
"We will come again as Pakistan has so much to offer in
mountaineering and hopefully in 2001 we will attempt a peak above 7000
meter," said Rajiv who will also lead the expedition.
He said," The expedition started the quest for the summit from
Advance Base Camp at 4300 meters highest point reached by other members
was 4900 metres."
Other members of the expedition included Muhammad Hairul Nazwa Bin
Dol (24), Foo Yiingkal (23) and Cheng Li Huei Glenn (30).
Qudrat Ali from Shimshal with two 8000ers Broad Peak (1999) and
Gasherbrum II (2000) accompanied the team as mountain guide.
Rajiv specially thanked Ashraf Aman from Adventure Tours for all the
assistance provided to them during their stay in Pakistan.
He said," Singapore is very active at the mountaineering front
and has been hosting a number of international and Asian championships
over the years."
He said," We are currently building up one of the biggest
artificial wall in the world which will have 14 routes and will cater to
international competitions of World Rock Climbing Championships
The team leaves on Monday (today).
CAPTION: Rajiv Rajikoul
CAPTION: Grant Rawlinson