Indian alpinist Harish Kapadia to receive Piolets d'Or Asia Lifetime Achievement Award

Dream Wanderlust | Oct 31 , 2017

The lifetime achievement award will be given to renowned Indian alpinist and author Harish Kapadia (72) this year. Seoul, Korea will host the 12th edition of the Asian continent's Piolets d'Or on 3rd November, 2017.

Harish Kapadia was born on 11th July, 1945 in Mumbai. He is an eminent Mountaineer, explorer, author and editor of The Himalayan Journal. His association with the Himalayan journal has been for almost 35 years (Editor: 1975-1985 and 1990–2010, Assistant Editor: 1986–1989).

Harish started his climbing and trekking career in the ranges around Bombay, the Western Ghats AKA Sahyadri. His main contribution to Himalayan climbing has been the exploration of unknown areas. He has also come up with new climbing possibilities in many cases. Some of his major ascents include Devtoli (6788m), Bandarpunch West (6102m), Parilungbi (6166m), and LungserKangri (6666m) the highest peak of Rupshu in Ladakh. He led twelve international joint expeditions to high peaks, such as Rimo (7385m), Chong Kumdan I (7071m), Sudarshan Parbat (6507m), PanchChuli (6904m) and Rangrik Rang (6553m) and Padmanabh (7030m) on the Siachen Glacier.

In 1974 he fell into a crevasse at 6200m, deep inside the formidable Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Borne by his companions for 13 days, he reached the Base Camp from where he was heli rescued. He was operated for a dislocated hip-joint and had to spend two years walking on crutches. But that did not deter him for too long and even for four decades after the injury he continued with his climbing.

Harish has a degree in Commerce, Law and Management from Bombay University and he was a cloth merchant by profession. He retired from business in 2000 and has been climbing and exploring the Himalaya more vigorously since.

He was elected the Honorary Member of the Alpine Club, London and almost all major Alpine Clubs in the world. He was the Vice President of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (1997-1999). The IMF Gold Medal was confered upon him by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in 1993. In 2003, Her Majesty the Queen approved the award of the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He has received many major awards, including the King Albert Medal and the Tensing Norgay Award from the President of India, the highest Adventure award of India.

Harish was invited to many countries to lecture on his Himalayan exploits, and is a member of several organisations. He is married, and lives in Bombay. He has written numerous books and articles on the Indian Himalayas.

His son Lieutenant Nawang Kapadia, who was commissioned on 2nd September, 2000 to the Fourth Battalion of the Third Gorkha Rifles, died while fighting Pakistan based terrorists in the jungles of Rajwar in Kupwara district of Srinagar, India on 11th November, 2000. Since then Harish Kapadia has taken to lecturing about this conflict, particularly in the Siachen Glacier. He has been discussing a proposal for a peace park in the Siachen glacier region and cleaning up the environmental damage there.

Joint Expeditions:

1981 - Indian-French SudarshanParvat Expedition
1985 - Indian-British Rimo Expedition
1991 - Indian-British Chong Kumdan Expedition
1992 - Indian-British PanchChuli Expedition
1994 - Indian-British Kinnaur Expedition
2000 - Indian-French Rimo Expedition
2001 - Indian-British-American Expedition
2002 - India-Japan Expedition
2003 - Indian-British Team
2004 - Indian-British Team
2006 - Indian-British Team
2007 - Indian-British Team

Notable Climbs:
* First ascent

Jatropani (4071m)
Ikulari (6059m)
Bethartoli Himal South (6318m)
Shiti Dhar (5290m)
Devtoli* (6788m)
Kalabaland Dhura* (6105m)
Koteshwar II* (5690m)
Yada (4115 m)
Jalsu (4298 m)
Lagma* (5761m)
Zumto* (c.5800m)
Tserip* (c.5980m)
Kawu* (c.5910m)
Kalanag (6387m)
Bandarpunch West* (6102m)
Parilungbi (6166m)
Runse* (6175m)
Gyadung* (6160m)
Geling* (c. 6100m)
Lama Kyent* (c. 6040m)
Labrang* (c.5900m) (Spiti)
Nandi* (5795m) (Garhwal)
Laknis* (6235m)
Chogam (6250m)
Skyang (5770m)
Panchali Chuli* (5220m)
Draupadi* (5250m)
Khamengar (5760m)
Mangla* (5800m)
Kunda* (5240m)
Lungser Kangri* (6666 m)
Chhamser Kangri (6622m)
Bhagat Peak* (5650m)
Thula (5525 m)

Notable Explorations:

Eastern Karakoram - Siachen Glacier, Chong Kumdan Glacier, Rimo Glaciers
Spiti Valleys - Lingti Valley, Khamengar Valley
Kinnaur - Rangrik Rang range
Himachal Pradesh - Bara Bhangal, Pangi Valley, Sorang Valley, Sainj and Tirthan Valley, Dhauladhar range
Garhwal - Girthi Ganga gorge, Bhagirath Kharak Glacier, Arwa Valley, Jadh Ganga Valley, Panpatia Glacier, Valley of Flowers, Kangbhusandital and Obra Valley
Kumaun - The Nanda Devi Sanctuary, Upper Lasser Yankti and Darma Valley, Unknown Valleys of the Kalabaland Glacier, Balati Glacier and the Pyunshani Valleys
Sikkim - North of Zemu Glacier like Lhonak Valley, Borum la
Arunachal Pradesh - 'Bailey Trail' from Bomdila towards Pota and Tulung La, Siang Valley, Takpa Siri, Yongyyap la on the McMahon line, Dri Valley, Lohit Valley, Dong Valley, Yang Sang Chu Valley, East Kameng Valley, Lapti Valley, Chaukan Pass
Ladakh - Nubra, Shyok, Pangong Tso, Rupshu area, Tso Moriri Lake, Hanle, Chushul
Bhutan - Many famous Dzongs (forts), monasteries and places such as Paro
Nepal - Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, Sherpa Trail
Tibet - From Simikot (Nepal) to border of Tibet, from Lhasa across the Tibetan plateau to extreme west of the country via the Northern road, from Kailash, Tirthapuri and rare areas of Tholing Math, Tsaparang and Guge.


Siachen Glacier: The Battle of Roses
SPITI: Adventures in The Trans-Himalaya
Exploring The Hidden Himalaya
Trek The Sahyadris
Meeting The Mountains
Into the Untravelled Himalaya
Exploring the Highlands of Himalaya
Across Peaks and Passes series (Across Peaks and Passes in Kumaun Himalaya | Across Peaks and Passes in Himachal Pradesh | Across Peaks and Passes in Darjeeling and Sikkim (two editions) | Across Peaks and Passes in Ladakh, Zanskar and East Karakoram | Across Peaks & Passes in Garhwal Himalaya)
High Himalaya Unknown Valleys
A Passage to Himalaya
Trekking and Climbing in Indian Himalaya


Patron's (Royal) Medal of the Royal Geographical Society awarded by Her Majesty the Queen on 2nd June 2003.
Tensing Norgay National Adventure Award, 2003, awarded by the President of India, for Lifetime Achievements on 29th September 2005.
King Albert I Mountain Award, awarded by the foundation for Life Time achievement on 2nd September 2006.
IMF President's Gold Medal for mountaineering awarded by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, in 1993.
Joss Lynam Memorial Medal, Ireland, on 24th November 2011

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