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Nag Tibba: Where records are broken
"Nag Tibba (9920 ft.) is the most challenging weekend hike in the vicinity... an arid, steep and miserable trail... the water sources are not dependable for drinking or cooking. [But] on the summit you are treated to a dazzling display of the snows and a sweeping 360 degrees view of the foothills." (Jon Martin, '79: Your Handbook to Hiking around Mussoorie)
Following SoeNam Dorjee's ('98-Bhutan) sprint from school to the summit of Nag Tibba in 7.75 hours on April 4, interest in the records has revived. But trying to trace the records of Nag Tibba assaults is as hard as finding the summit trail past Mangalore. The records have disappeared from the Hiking Office and so far have failed to migrate to Archives or anywhere else.
SoeNam was not alone: three staff and Nate Hausman ('99USA) were tight on his heels. The hike was organized by Rolf Kleiner, Head of Math. Of Swiss extraction with impeccable credentials (among other Alpine summits, he's done Writ Blanc and the Eiger), Rolf was interested in "having an enjoyable experi- ence," although walking/running all night to reach the summit of Nag Tibba might not qualify in everyone's books as enjoyable. Rolf led a similar expedition in 1993 which timed out at 8.5 hours. Both groups took jeeps from Thatur back to school, of necessity in '93 as "one of the guys was half dead". This group fared better as they had an incentive to remain fresh--a dance that night. Nate even walked a pretty day scholar home afterwards.
The 70's seem to be the record highlife. According to Dick Wechter, Joe Alter and David Taylor did the round trip from school to Nag Tibba in the same day. Diana Biswas remembers that Bob Flaming, Jr., did the same. By vague recall, one of these iron men left a pocket knife on the peak and went back for it the next day.
In running records, Dick reports that Jay Smith ('71 -USA) ran to the top of Surkhanda Devi, rang the bell, and was back to school in 7.5 hrs. Dick himself ran to Dhanolti and back in 5 hours on his 39th birthday, and joined his house mates in time for breakfast. PE teacher Bob Forsgren ran the same in two hours, Diana recalls. SoeNam Dorjee ran the hilly 16 kin from Jaberket to Suakoli and back in 50 minutes this spring.
Rolf has been busy setting Woodstock records for altitude as well. The highest altitude ever reached by an Activity Week group was his senior group which climbed to 5,480 in. (17,979 ft) on Auden's Col in 1997. Rolf also led a group of students to Thelu (6,002 m./I 9,691 ft.) in 1994. In staff records, the highest peak reached was Koteshwar at 6,100 in. (20,013 ft.) in 1987; expedition members were Gavin McIntosh, Ajay Mark, Martin Gough and a "Kiwi friend of Gavin's" (Rolf speaking), Rick Main.
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