An 18-year-old bolting sensation

Jul 01, 2014, 08:42 IST | Ruchika Kher

Inspired by his sports climber father, Tuhin Satarkar recently bolted Dnyaneshwari rock face in Tamhini, at a height of 400 ft

When other 18-year-olds are hanging out in coffee shops, Pune boy Tuhin Satarkar, prefers hanging of another kind — from a height of 400 feet. Yes, you read right. Satarkar, who has undertaken other projects in the past, recently became the first Indian to bolt the dangerous route of Tamhini. “The Dnyaneshwari rock face in Tamhini valley is the project that I climbed early in May, this year. Climbing in the Sahyadri mountain range is never easy; there is always an element of surprise in every climb; it may be fall, loose rocks, and of course, nature’s supply of wild life…it’s an experience in itself,” admits Satarkar, thrilled after his recent conquest.

Tuhin Satarkar

In his father’s footsteps
The young climber reveals that his aim was to bolt and complete the multi-pitch climb. “It was initially bolted by Vaibhav Mehta who’s a pioneer of sports climbing in India. The route was incompletely bolted; my dad (Vikas Satarkar) along with Vaibhav Mehta and other climbers had opened the route, but unfortunately could not complete it,” explains Satarkar. He adds that he was all of 12 years that time, but seeing the climbers bolt left an indelible mark on him. “It was then that I decided that if this face is ever climbed again, I will do it,” he proudly exclaims.

Challenges galore
While height is a major concern during such adventure activities, several other factors play spoilsport as well. Satarkar shares that his climb too wasn’t a cakewalk, especially because of the heat. “Then, an entire day was wasted due to unexpected rains. Help from the support team at a time like this proves very crucial,” he specifies.

What is bolting?

Bolts are a type of protection placed into rocks, so as to help you climb safely. However, bolts need to be placed strategically so that climbing remains fun, and not a routine bolt. Bolts placed should be so that they do not interfere with the fluidity of a climbing route. A minimum number of bolts, enough for your safety, are all that are needed. Bolting for the sake of bolting damages the rock surface too. As it is, the rock structure in the Sahyadri is very unstable and loose, so if you bolt randomly, you can end up damaging the surface and causing more harm than its intended purpose of safety.

Where is Tamhini?
Tamhini is located in Plus Valley, near Mulshi in Maharashtra, and is around 70 km from Pune. Satarkar bolted at Dnyaneshwari, which is a multi-pitch sports route that reaches 400 feet, which is west-facing and graded as 7a+ to 7b+ (high difficulty).

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