The name Bandarpunch / Banderpunch (also spelt as Bandarpoonch) literally means “monkey’s tail” in Hindi and is a lovely mountain in the Western Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. This massif has three mountains above 6000m, namely the twin peaks of Bandarpunch I (6316m) and Bandarpunch II (6102m) and Kalanag (Black Peak) at 6387m. Bandarpunch II is also called the ‘White Peak’. The massif can easily be spotted from many places in Garhwal. The first successful expedition to Bandarpunch was led by Maj Gen Harold Williams in 1950 with a team comprising of legendary mountaineer Tenzing Norgay. They approached the mountain from the Hanuman Ganga valley lying south west of the mountain. This mountain rose to prominence when the Doon school masters Jack Gibson and John Martyn started using this area to offer climbing experience to their wards during the summer holidays. They were the first ones to actually reconnoiter the route in 1937.
Tenzing Norgay refers to Bandarpunch as ‘The Doon School Mountain’ in his autobiography. We approach the mountain from the south east route; the same route which was successfully climbed for the first time by Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) in 1975 when it took its students of Advance Mountaineering Course in the spring season. The trek to base camp starts from Sukhi, which lies on the road going up to Gangotri.
The base camp is a beautiful two days hike from here and we set up two alpine camps above Base Camp before attempting summit. The climbing route is fairly straightforward but is highly crevasse littered between Camp 1 & Summit. This mountain is a perfect training ground for expedition climbing in Himalaya, with the summit offering incredible views of the high mountains of Garhwal in the south & the east (including Satopanth, Sudarshan Parbat, Chandra Parbat, Swetvaran, Matri, Thelu, Srikanth, Jogin, Gangotri range & Jaonli) and mountains of Kinnaur in the western sky.