Sacred Mountain Gauri Shankar

Situated near the western edge of Rolwaling Himal at about 100km northeast of Kathmandu is Gauri Shankar, also spelled Gauri Shankar at times. The sacred mountain standing proudly at the height of 7,134m was ascended on May 8, 1979 by John Roskelley and Dorje Sherpa for the first time. One of the easy routes in snow climb, the mountain got its name from Sanskrit word for Goddess and her Consort, denoting the sacred regard. The Tibetan name for the peak is Jomo Tseringma.

The mountain has two summits which is why it is called Gauri Shankar, the higher northern peak called Shankar, as in Lord Shiva, and the southern summit called Gauri, his consort. In the years 1950s and 1960s, attempts were made to climb the mountain but due to difficulties in weather, storms and difficult ice faces, the ascenders were defeated. The mountain was officially closed for climb from 1965 to 1979 as it is regarded as a sacred mountain by the locals and it was only in 1979 that the permission for climb was finally granted. In that year itself, an American-Nepalese expedition finally managed to ascend to the summit from the west side, the route which is extremely difficult in terms of technology. The permit from the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism stated that the summit could only be reached if an equal number of climbers from both nations were on the summit team and the obligation was fulfilled by John Roskelley and Dorje Sherpa.

A British-Nepalese expedition climbed the long and difficult Southwest Ridge to the south summit that extends to 7910 m in the year 1979. However, they could not go ahead to the main summit, although their climb itself is considered as a significant achievement. There are only two other additional ascents of the main summit of Gauri Shankar and both of these involved Ang Kami Sherpa. Moreover, the second climb was a winter ascent that took place in January 1986.