Col. N. Kumar
Mountaineering Legend of India
Colonel N. Kumar (Retd), PVSM, KC, AVSM, FRGS
is an internationally known mountaineer. He was born
8th Dec 1933 in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan).
He has successfully led mountaineering expeditions to the highest peaks of Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, Garhwal, Kashmir and Eastern Karakorams. Out of 13 the highest peaks above 24,000 ft. climbed by Indians, nine have been climbed under his leadership.
In 1960 he was amongst the first eight in the World who had crossed the High Altitude barrier of 28,000 ft. In 1965 he was Deputy Leader of the Indian Mount Everest Expedition which put nine people on the top - a World record.
His unique contribution towards the world of mountaineering was the ascent of Kanchenjunga from the North East spur. For 45 years several expeditions tried to climb Kanchenjunga peak from the dangerous Sikkim route and were unsuccessful. The 1931 German Expedition came nearest to success when it had to return from 3000 ft. below the summit. This achievement was considered so great that it was awarded the Gold Medal at the Los Angles Olympics. Col. Kumar conceived and successfully led an expedition to this mountain in 1977.
Lord Hunt described this achievement as being " far greater than the Conquest of Everest as it involved technical climbing and objective hazards of a much higher order than those found on Everest".
Col Kumar is the only Indian to have commanded three premier Mountaineering Institutes of the Country. He has been the Principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, at Darjeeling, the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering at Gulmarg and Commandant of the High Altitude Warfare School also at Gulmarg. He is at present President of Ski federation of India and Vice President Indian Olympic Association.
The first man in the world to cross the Siachen Glacier from the Snout to its Source. He also skied down all the passes on the Glacier such as the Bila-Fondla, Saltoro Pass, Sia-La, Turkistan-La, Indira-Col and Pass Italia and led successful expeditions to Saltoro Kangri (25,400 ft) the highest in Eastern Karakoram.