Free Press Journal

Duke’s Nose (Nagphani) – Simul Climbing Project, India


India’s two leading trad climbers, Rohit Vartak and Ganesh Geedh are reaching heights, literally. Relive their journey as they attempt to speed climb Duke’s Nose (Nagphani), an iconic 300 ft rock pillar in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

Been training together since 2010, they finally decided to show up in 2015 by coming up with some bold and sketchy simul-climbing techniques. Fondly called as the ‘Partners in Climb’, they climbed the vertical rock wall at a mind-blogging pace, sending the route in a little over 30 minutes, also possibly becoming the first duo to do so.

Rohit Vartak is currently working with Fly Sports as an Adventure HOD, while Ganesh Geedh is working with Della Adventure as a Manager. Their most memorable climb together was when they climbed and explored the route behind Anjeri Fort, Nasik. It was also their most difficult simul-climb.

Duke’s Nose known locally as Naagphani (Cobra’s Hood), the cliff owes its name to the Duke of Wellington, whose ample nose it resembles.

The first references to rock climbing as an independent discipline apart from mountaineering date back to 1911, to Europe. But in India, the sport started gaining popularity in the 1980s. Now, there is a great sense of discovery and exploration.

From the ‘big walls’ of the Himalayas (the Gangotri gorge) to the volcanic rock formations of Mount Abu (Rajasthan) and the magnificent granite formations of Hampi (Karnataka), these beautiful destinations have been attracting the Rock Climbers all around India, and the Sport is gradually making name in the Adventure Sports circuit.