Plumes of smoke rise and merge into the leaden sky / A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers

- Pink Floyd



Dec 24, 2013

Tuhin Satarkar: the first Indian climber to ascend Ganesh



The Outdoor Journal

After two Frenchmen and one American, Tuhin becomes the first Indian to redpoint the 8b+ (5.14a) route in Badami

Young Indian climber Tuhin Satarkar became the first Indian to redpoint Ganesh (8b+), India’s toughest sport route, on December 14, the very next day after American climber Paige Claassen became the first woman to do so. After over a week of crimping, deadpointing and falling repeatedly, Tuhin also became the fourth person to finish this 20m sandstone route in Badami, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Red Bull-linked Tuhin and Arjun Vajpai Foundation-sponsored Sandeep Maity were both trying to be the first Indian climbers to redpoint the route. Eventually, Tuhin finished the route “without falling or hangdogging on any of the quickdraws from the start to the finish,” said Jon Glassberg, co-founder of  LouderThan11, a US-based production house that shot the entire ascent and plans on releasing the video in January 2014.

With the successful redpoint, Tuhin also became the top claimant for the INR 50,000 (US$ 800) prize money announced last season by Indian outdoor gear retailer Adventure 18 for the first Indian ascent of the route.

Ganesh was bolted by Alex Chabot in 2010, but climbed first by Frenchman Gerome Pouvreau. Etienne Seppecher in 2012 made the second ascent of this overhanging, bulging water-stained orange face.India_Glassberg_Tuhin_Ganesh_2013-2

Contacted by The Outdoor Journal after his feat, Tuhin said,

“Felt awesome on finishing the route. It was the end, but then I realized it was just a beginning for something new. I don’t chase any records, I just climb for myself. Rock Aliens came forward with a INR 25,000 prize money but I donated it to Paige to raise funds for a social cause.”

“It’s great news for the climbing community in India. Many of us are trying to break barriers and I’m glad Tuhin has taken the first step towards it,” said Manikandan Kumar, India’s silver medallist at the Para Climbing World Championships in Italy earlier this year. (Read the full story)

Jon Glassberg said, “There were eight of his close friends watching and Paige and I were at the cliff that morning to support him and watch him make the first Indian ascent of India’s hardest sport climb. It was awesome to watch.”

Jon also commented that the climbing scene in India seemed pretty small but it still stood a chance to grow fast with publicity of great accomplishments from India’s best climbers.

Image © Jon Glassberg – lt11.com

Place: New Delhi, India

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Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.



Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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