Mt. Saipal, with impressive 7,031 meter height from the sea level, Mount Saipal is an unexplored summit of Nepal and is second highest peak of the Far Western region. Located in the Himalayan range of north-west of the country, the mountain offers abundant thrill and wilderness to the adventure seekers. While the mountain may not be significant when it comes to its elevation level, it however is one of the most arduous to surmount and hence gives tricky tests even to the world’s most scrupulous summiteers. The pick sits gloriously some 1,000 kms far from the country’s capital, Kathmandu.
The history of Mount Saipal expedition dates back to 1953 when Austrian Dr Herbert Tichy first attempted to ascend the peak, but failed primarily due to lack of proper logistics. Next year, another Austrian citizen, Dr Rudolf Jonas, led an expedition to Saipal in spring season. The expedition became ill fated after a member of the team, Karl Reiss, died at the basecamp due to pneumonia. Only after a decade since the first attempt, Japanese duo Katsutoshi Hirabayashi and Pasang Phutar finally made to the top of the peak in on 21 October, 1963 from the south side. Encouraged by the success, few other expeditions were made in 1985 during when members of a Spanish expedition conquered the mountain, among others.
The story of success and failure followed. After the failed attempts from an Austrian and a Swiss climbers in 1987 and 1988 respectively, French national Jacques Montaz and a Nepali citizen Tendi Sherpa kept their feet on the summit on 25 October, 1990. Two days later, Kroll from Austria, Matthias Mross from Germany and Ang Choppel Sherpa from Nepali also walked up to the top successfully.
Adding up to the series, another successful attempt was made by a Japanese expedition team in 1998 and by a French national,Paulo Grober in 2010. This suggested that the peak has been attempted by a dozen of teams and individuals till date. However, even today, the mountain has not been able to fall under the preference list among the national and international mountaineers. Even when more than one million of foreign tourists come to Nepal, not even 0.5 percent of them visit the Saipal area, let alone climb it.
The long distance from Kathmandu to Bajhang, the home district of Mt Saipal, lack of proper trekking trail on the way, absence of necessary logistics and government’s mountaineering service system and non-existence necessary infrastructure like hotels and lodges are some of the factors that have made the peak virgin. This is the reason, why mountaineers from across the globe yearn to try their ascending skill in this pinnacle. While the peak is less crowded, the ascend from its southern part makes the expedition more adventurous, thrilling and memorable.
Besides Saipal as a mountain, it is also a center of civilization and religiosity. Myth has it that the mountain is the abode of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The name Sapial, according to Hindu mythology, is named after Lord Bishnu as Mt Kailash is named after Lord Shiva. In the Hindu civilization, there are three major Gods-Brahma, Bishnu and Shiva-the Gods of creation, nurturing and destruction. The local people believe that as Mt Kailash is home to Lord Shiva, Mt Saipal, in the same manner is the residence of Lord Bishnu, who rests upon the lap of Sesnaag, a five headed holy Serpent God.
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