Russian climber, Valeri Babanov has soloed the coveted first ascent of Meru Central(6,450m) in India?s Garhwal Himalaya.He failed to solo the route in the spring, but returned in mid september, again solo, and reached the summit on the 22nd.His route is called Shangri la (VI 5.10 A2 M5) and follows snow and ice to the right of the much-attempted central prow (The Sharksfin).This leaves the original line up the centre of the fin still unclimbed.A strong team comprising Brits Jules Cartwright, Rich Cross and Matt Dickinson are planning an expedition for autumn 2002 to climb the Sharksfin.Jules has been on the line before… Meru is a stunning rockface near Shivling and was one of the last great problems of the Garhwal. The Sharksfin has spurned many attempts over the years and is perhaps most famous in the UK becuase of the Dawes boot dropping/throwing incident.
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