India Trip Part #3- end: Suru Valley
After exploring Leh and the valley around by climbing, hiking and driving between the differents buddhistes monastry it’s time to move. I had the beautiful chance to meet the all Gravi-T climbing crew, a nice local climbers community owning a climbing gym in Leh who organize the Suru Boulder Fest in the Suru Valley, near Kargil. So I decided to move. An other valley and new climbing place to explore.
The Suru Valley is an amazing unexplored place lost between the giants. The background Valley is about 3 000 meters high surrounded by giants reaching 6 000 meters high. Imagine climbing and explore some beautiful rocks and searching for new lines in a such environment.
The Suru Boulder Fest is more about federate the all Indian's climbers community in one place and climb together. Further of climbing the main purpose is to Federate the Indian climber community while develop new climbing Area in the valley.
The Suru Boulder Fest crew discover the valley for the first time in 2012, Tenzing Jamyang and Suhail Kapkori went and discover this incredible valley:
“We spent a week there and were completely in love with the feeling of exploration and it kindled my curious nature and rise above the mayhem of the universe, I felt like I had found a purpose finally and it was to look for these boulders and climb them. I know it sounds silly to a non-climber, but that’s how I felt. Suhail and I started making plans of getting our friends and other climbers to suru valley but we couldn’t come back for the next 4 years due to personal obligations.”
It will take 4 years until Jammy create the fest, the first edition was in 2016, helped by Sandeep Kumar Maity, they organise the first edition of this amazing fest bringing together the Indian Climbers and climbers coming from all over the world.
Always working to develop the climbing in India and opening new routes, boulders etc Jammy decided to organize this fest to federate all the climbers in one place with the idea to climb all together but also keep exploring the valley while opening new routes. But also climber form all over the world.
The opening dynamic is really strong during the fest, you can find any kind of climbing and open your lines: different chaos of boulders in the valley, some trad climbing, some multi-pitch, route climbing and also mountaineering with some 6 000 still unnamed. Every climber can find there his heaven.
For me it was really interesting to meet climbers coming form all over India and talk with them about how is federate the climbing, what kind of dynamic is here and also what do they want and what are they project and their approach about climbing.
Most of the climbers associate India to Hampi but there is still a lot of virgin places still unclimbed and waiting to get opened everywhere in India.
The Suru Valley is just an exemple of the crazy potential of climbing in India.
I can't talk about all the amazing person I met there but I wanted to introduce my friend Prerna Dangui. This spicy girls is just impressive about her personality, defending woman's right in India throw her sport. And what a fight to promote the extreme sports for woman.
« Personally I see climbing as a way to interact to the external world with includes the outdoors. (…) The biggest thing is the climbing can provide to womens is a space to discover their strengths and weakness by going to places that challenge them. Getting more women into climbing field was always on my mind because I did not have a lot of roe models around while I was still a beginner, and most of the times, I would be the only girl climbing with all the boys. »
This girl is such a badass ice climber and climber always looking to progress and learn from everyone. In fact Dangui is the only climber women I had the chance to meet ... She is at the origin of the CLAW project in India: Climb Like A Woman. The CLAW is a crew of girl promoting climbing and initiate girls and woman to climbing and mountain activities by some meet up between girls.
« Personally I seek it as a way to interact with the external world which includes the outdoors but also different cultures communities people and forces. the biggest thing that climbing can provide to women is a space to discover their strengths and weaknesses by going to places that challenge them and uncovering the strength to overcome those challenges. »
Getting more women into the climbing field was always on my mind because I I did not have a lot of role models around while I was still a beginner climber and most of the times, I would be the only girl climbing with all the boys. The lack of female company struck me some times... After meeting like minded women climbers we found a way to give that opportunity to whoever was keen on learning to climb but somehow felt intermediated by the sport as it's male dominated.»
The Suru Valley is really isolate of the rest of India. Far from the Buddhist atmosphere we can find in Leh, or the true disorder from the South. The valley is militarized zone because of the proximity of the Pakistany and Chinese frontier and create a real contrast with the quietness of the mountains. We can feel this tension, by people searching their identity, pin between their Indian Identity and the wish of membership to Pakistan. In an other side we can not forget the old conflict in Indian between Muslims and Hindou.