Saturday, October 27, 2007


YUKSOM, (West Sikkim), October 26: A Swiss mountaineering expedition successfully scaled the 6010m Mount Thinchinkhang on October 24.

The expedition, which was headed by Robert Allenbach (57), a professional mountaineer from Switzerland, was joined by his wife Susana Cornelia Allenbach (54), a medical assistant, Robertus Laan (44), a Dutch national based in Switzerland and working as a Sales Marketing Executive and Paul PE Van Rivere (54), a public prosecutor in Holland.

Mount Thinchinkhang has been previously scaled thrice, the first being scaled by the Germans last year in 2006 and for the second time by mountaineers from United States of America earlier this October.

The ten-day expedition organised by Adarsh Tours and Travels based in Gangtok was joined by nine others comprising of the guide, potters, cooks, the Sherpas for locating and clearing the track and 13 yaks.

The group started off from Yuksom on October 15 and reached the base camp at Lamuney on the 19th of the same month.

After 6 hours of climbing from the base camp, the summit of Mount Thinchinkhang was scaled successfully at about 7 am amidst a warm sunny weather from its southern side on October 21.

The summiteers counting seven in total-Allenbach couple, Robertus Laan, Dhan Bahadur Chettri (guide), Phurba Sherpa, Nima Sherpa and Thukpa Tshering Sherpa stayed on the summit for about an hour and half.

Unfortunately, about 300m below the summit, Paul PE Van Rivere had to call it a day due to extreme exhaustion.

Speaking to mediapersons, Robert Allenbach, a technical engineer by profession was in all praise for the Adarsh Tours and Travels for successfully organising the expedition.

According to him, the most challenging part of the expedition was the rock climbing on the steep vertical gradient whereby, the ascent to the top of the summit proved a difficult task for the team.

He also highlighted on the major difference in terms of elevation between his present and past mountaineering expeditions. The Mount Thinchinkhang measured at an altitude of more than 6,000m above sea level in comparison to some of the peaks scaled by him both in India and in his own country in the past measuring at an optimal height ascending up to as high as 5,000m excluding the Mount Everest expedition.

For Ms Allenbach the beautiful landscapes kept her mesmerized during the course of the expedition.

It may be mentioned here that Allenbach has also scaled the summit of Mount Everest way back in 1978 and also scaled mountain peaks in Ladakh in 2006 when he was a young lad of 28 then.

The Allenbach couple have been actively participating in mountaineering expeditions of such kind for the last 40 years. For the duos, scaling mountains have been their hobby and have undergone practical training in the art in Switzerland by scaling on mountain peaks measuring at a height of 4,000 to 5,000 at regular intervals.

Robertus Laan on the other hand expressed his keenness to scale other mountains in North Sikkim recently opened by the State Government.

Talking to SIKKIM EXPRESS, the guide Dhan Bahadur Chettri stated that Mount Thinchinkhang is cent percent a technical peak rather than just a mere trekking peak.

Mr. Chettri at 27 is a trained professional mountaineer and a guide from Himachal Adventure Institute in Manali in Himachal Pradesh. He also expressed his utmost appreciation to the Chief Minister of Sikkim for having opened the peaks for mountaineers which accordingly to him would definitely go a long way to give a boost to tourism in the State.

Mt Thinchinkhang is the highest amongst the five peaks recently opened by the Sikkim government including Frey’s Peak in West Sikkim standing at a height of 5,830m, Mount Lamawangden at 5868m in North Sikkim, Mount Brumkhangse (5,635m) in Yumthang Valley and Mount Jupuno (5850m) in West Sikkim.