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2013-2014

The Hiking Club

Founded in 1949, the Hiking Club of St. Stephen’s College is one of the oldest mountaineering clubs in India, second only to The Himalayan Club in Bombay. It is older than such institutions as the Indian Mountaineering Foundation and the Delhi Mountaineering Association. Its list of achievements too is unmatched by any similar college-level club.

Although it was initially formed with the aim of introducing students to outdoor activities in general, the Hiking Club quickly graduated to more serious mountaineering activities, especially under the guidance of the late Mr. Balbir Singh of the Department of Economics, who was the Staff Adviser through the 1960s.

By the end of the 1980s, the Club had an unrivalled record of high-altitude treks, many done under the guidance of Mr. Balbir Singh and his successors as Staff Adviser. Many of the routes the Club did were truly pioneering, done in the years before the development of infrastructure made them popular and accessible.

The Club also has a fine record of climbing. Though a complete list of all expeditions undertaken is not possible, some significant achievements have been as follows:

  • first passage through the lower Rishiganga gorge into the Nanda Devi Sanctuary (while attempting one of the Devistan peaks), in 1977

  • first entry by a climbing team into the Kalabaland glacier system

  • ascent of Deo Tibba (6001 m) in 1980 by an all-girls expedition

  • first ascent of a 21,800 ft (6645 m) peak in the Chango valley in Spiti in 1982, which was named “Ninjeri” (Pure mountain) by the team

  • ascent of the Bagini Pass leading to the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in 1984

  • ascents of various other peaks, including Bandarpunch (6316 m) and Hanuman Tibba (5928 m)

The club provides an all round development of an individual. Climbing imbibes values such as team work, courage, responsibility, strategy planning, hard work and most of all confidence. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any prior knowledge about climbing, the “I want to live” attitude is all that you require. Not only does the club remain committed to introducing students to a wide range of adventure sports but we also host an Open National Climbing Competition.

This year the club organized treks in exquisite locations in Zanskar, Patalsu, Chandrika pass, Shivpuri and Manali. We also organize weekend outings and publish our very own annual magazine named Miscellany.

The hiking club is a great legacy to live up to. It is a true privilege that we as stephanian’s share. After all, we have always been involved in many different activities, perhaps best exemplified by one of our former Presidents, Ajeet Bajaj, who was once described as “the only Indian to have rafted down three Indian rivers and climbed Jogin III who can play the saxophone”!

You can contact the Hiking Club at hikingclub.ssc@gmail.com


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