Archive for May 30th, 2011

I got up thanking god that i was not eaten up by the bear at night. Thanks to Ninoy and his hypothesis of the bear, we all were shit scared. So scared that we had to go in groups for our morning chores :) After i was done i heard some weird noises deep in the jungle. I was so scared that i literally came running to the camp. A little later we were served good poha which i thulped before starting off for ratnapani. As always the initial part was a steep descent. Like always i was doing the math and something startled me. We had to ascend 2000 ft that day and we already descended like some 400 ft in the first hour or so!! That meant for the rest of the day we had to do an additional 2400 ft. Compared to the 1400 ft we did in the first day this was very scary.

For the next hour we kept trekking up and down until we reached a waterfall. The next climb was terrific. It was a 70 degree climb and that was by far the steepest i have ever trekked.  It was getting scarily steep as we climbed up and up. After half an hour of climb we all sat down till everyone of us gathered. Polls made the mistake of not sitting with us and then decided to go down and give up on the trek. He had a fever last night and that had a toll on him. I kindly offered to carry his sandals and everyone took some bit of his luggage.

We started climbing again and the trek started to get very tiring. The scenes were awesome from those heights but none of us had the energy to admire them. The sandals on my back started to become deadly. Rena had tied them to a side and everytime i climbed a rock, they sway and tilt the rucksack position. I almost lost balance once and if i had not latched onto a branch i would have been down a few hundred feet. Not losing hope we kept going on and on. The climb got steeper and more dangerous after a while.

Every time I convinced myself that the peak i see was the end and mustered enough courage to get to the peak, only to realize there was another peak up ahead. This must have happened some 10 times in all, before i gave up hope that the lunch point was any near. Every 10 steps i took, i took a long pause breathing heavily and then carried on. These long pauses started to make the trekking a lot easier. We were now in excess of 10000 ft and the dip in oxygen levels started to show. After trekking for 3 hours at such steep gradients, we finally reached the lunch camp at 2PM.

We were all so hungry that we thulped chapati and aloo (something i started to like now!!). We even got omelet courtesy a small shop where they sold everything at twice MRP. Still they felt cheaper than what we pay for maggi and omelet!! We started our way again at around 3.30 after taking few snaps and a short nap. We then crossed a couple of very scenic waterfalls and reached a very large meadow which was supposed to be the Ratnapani camp. But then we realized that the camp had been moved to a different location and we were up for a climb that would totally give a different perspective to philosophy all together. :P

Every step we took potentially had a life risk element and for a few steps we know there would be only one way to hell if we slipped. To add to all this the rain god wanted to make the trek more interesting. There were lightening and thunder but luckily the rain held on. We kept climbing up and up before Rena/Polls started to freak out a lot. I was already so tensed, that they freaking out got me to panic. To avoid more tension i got ahead and without thinking about anything and giving up any hope i still had of living i started climbing till I got to the top. I was greeted by the camp leader i was still surprised i had done it. I started to yell at the top of my voice. I was so happy, and the awesome views that awaited us at the top had me forget all the problems i had. The snow filled mountains were only a climb away from where we stood. We had a clear view of the entire panorama stretching from the Grahan Camp till the padri camp and a view of the Nagaru camp too!

I was the first to reach the camp and got to see everyone’s reaction when they finally finished it! Everyone looked freaked out and relieved at the same time. Just as we got to the camp site, the rain started to pour in. We all thanked heavens for the timing or else it would have been GG! The temperatures dropped abruptly after the rain. We were all frozen and shivering in the tents as they served some hot soup and bournvita in our tents. The tent had a slope and it was enough for me to slip from one end to the other hitting jishnu in the process. I freaked out even more thinking bear had my leg!! Rofl!! :)

Getting up early started to become a lot easier as i got up at 6.00 AM with ease. But by the time everyone was ready, had breakfast and packed our lunches it was 9.00 Am. The Camp leader had briefed us that this was a easy and peaceful trek for about 4 hours. We started our trek by a quick descent and then a long walk along the stream. After an hour of walking along the stream, we trekked upwards. The gradients weren’t big and we were going at a good pace. We trekked for next 2 hours literally without stopping anywhere.

My legs started to complain probably because of yesterday’s tough climb, but the sight of snow and we getting close to it urged me on. soon we were at the lunch point at around 12:30. I really loved the lunch but i had packed too less that i was hungry for more. I had an awesome omelette and took a short nap. Then some one suggested if we got to the Padri early we could go to the glacier near by. We all got up in an instant and started trekking again. Soon we hit a small patch of snow by the stream. It was at a 60 degree slope. I was so excited i ran towards it and slipped the moment i put my leg in snow. I tried crawling on lit and still no use, I slipped again. Thanks to Tanvir and Tejamul who taught the tricks of the trade I climbed it up with ease :)

Snow climbing was awesome. But getting off it was even tougher.  After a pose i tried getting down and slipped straight through :P Thanks to the softness of snow nothing happened to me and then we took off. Ninoy tried a stunt with his rucksack trying to cross the stream and slipped right into the stream. Apart from this eventful thing there were no more causalities. We reached Padri by 3Pm and were amazed by the beautiful meadows.

It was a long meadow, from where we could see the wild horses, cows and numerous glaciers. Aditya the camp leader promised to take us to the glacier near by. I was really excited. We had to trek for an additional 30 minutes before we reached the AWESOMENESS. The stream had completely frozen from the top. There was a 10 ft thick layer of ice below which the water was flowing through. It was not as white as i had imagined probably because of the dry leaves that covered the ice. Walking on it was tough as often i used to slip. We walked on for like 10 minutes and soon we saw a small hillock from the top of which every one tried the slide. The child in us came out and was running wild.

My first slide in snow and it was absolutely amazing. My entire pant became wet and even though i wanted to do it again, I did not do it as i did not want to risk a cold or fever. After playing around for a while we came back to our tents. Ninoy was busy drying all his stuff, missing the trip to the glacier. On our way back we found a lot of skeletons of horses and ox and came up some great hypothesis as to why and how they came to being :P




Later Adithya told us that a bear cub was on loose and it’s mother was running wild in the forest in search of its cub. Ninoy freaked out this information and got all of us to panic. We had our dinner and synti then took out his cam and got  some good pics of the moon before we all slept hoping not to have an encounter with the bear.

Woke up early and did some last minute packing. Everyone was really excited about the trek, given that we were bored for the last 2 days staying in Kasol. We had break fast and packed lunch in our boxes. We then were briefed for a while before we were flagged off on our way to Sarpass. Like always the next two batches at Kasol gave us a sendoff by clapping. Its a great feeling when you take off on a 9 day trek and people giving you a standing ovation. I felt very energetic and was in good shape thanks to the gymming i had been doing for months now.

In half an hour time we crossed Kasol and was on the way to Grahan where we had our first camp. The initial part of the journey was along the stream that meets the Parvati river @ Kasol. People told me we could find Charas there but i had no clue how it looked like. I gave up on looking for those and took up the responsibility of the sweeper for 3G group. The initial part was an easy trek for 3 hrs, until we reached the 3km mark by noon. We had lunch and since we were at the start of the group, we decided to wait for others. We expected to reach Grahan in an hour and half and wasted a lot of time by the stream.

Soon the path started to wind up and the gradient started getting very tough. The sun was directly beating on us and we found it very difficult to climb. The next Km or so we could do it only in an hour. We reach a small tea stall on the way where the villager told us it was only 15 minutes to Grahan. I could see a bend far ahead. Foolishly i assumed that was Grahan and started my way. It took me an awful 30 minutes to get there only to realize Grahan was no where to be seen.

I started to worry if i really had lost my way! I had no option but to keep going. Only Polls was ahead of me but no where to be seen. I turned back i couldn’t see either ninoy or jishnu who were trailing me. With Altitude the sun was getting on us harder. But the mind blowing scenes from the top of the entire valley spurred me on. When ever i was tired i used to look at the pine trees, the snow capped peaks; listen to the birds chirping and the constant hustling and bustling of the water. That spurred to keep on. Soon i caught up with Polls and met a villager passing by. He then said Grahan was half an hour from where we were!! An hour after the previous one said 15 mins!!

We kept on going and half an hour later there was still no Grahan!! We then decided to wait for others to come and when Jishnu and Ninoy came by we walked and walked again for 30 more minutes and we finally reached Grahan! Just at the entrance of the village there was a small patch of grass where we took a small nap savoring nature’s beauty. 45 minutes later Bhargav, Synti and Rena came by. Rena had given up for all goodness’s sake and synti most surprisingly also was struggling. We started from there and it took us a good 20 minutes to reach the camp in the village. It was around 5 by the time we reached the camp. We had hot soup and good dinner and retired to our tents dreaming of what was up for store next. The very first day we had 2 of our champs giving up!! Strange..

Even though we knew we had to get up at 6.00 AM in the morning, none of us had kept the alarm assuming that the bed tea will be served to us in the morning. But YHAI’s concept of bed tea was a little weird. Bed tea means that tea will be kept near the kitchen and you had to go and fetch it!! I just ran out straight from bed after we were scolded for reporting in line late at 6.00. After a good dose from the field trainer we ran (walked i should say :P ) till the exercise ground where we were made to do all sorts of exercises. I skipped most of those still yawning and scolding the guys in my mind for waking me up so early in the morning. I later then did a few exercises and ended up almost vomiting, thanks to the frog jump that we were asked to do. It looked exciting at the start but after a few jumps everything went wrong :|

View of the Parvati valley

We then went back, had our breakfast and packed 2 thick woolen blankets in our rucksacks and went out on what was an acclimatization walk, a sample of what we were to face. 2 blankets along with a Litre of water made the backpack very heavy. Our group were named SP-12 (Sarpass 12); It was a such a boring name that we named our own group the “3G” – GG Group :D

The trek was so easy that we reached the top in good shape in about an hour. It was an 3 km uphill walk  with an altitude gain of 500 ft. The view of the parvati river and the snow clad mountain peak through the pine trees was a treat to the eyes. The hustling of river parvati and the koo-ing of the birds in absolute silence was so soothing that i instantly fell in love with where i was. We then had a small social gathering, picked a leader – Tejammul, a six and half well built kashmir lad who had good trekking experience before.  We all talked what we would be doing for the camp fire later tonight and then trekked back by lunch time.

We went to nearby shops to do some last minute shopping for the trek and attended the briefing about the tour by the field director. Later in the night after dinner we had our camp fire and what more — ninoy hosting it!! :)   The programme started with everyone shouting Fire Fire — Camp fire!! As weird as it sounds, the concept of having a camp fire without the actual fire was something beyond me. YHAI had a rule of not burning wood. After some good fun we slept early and this time with an alarm.

Day 2 also began with me getting up late and running for the line with shoes in hand. No alarm has an impact on me.. :D Our Co director decided it was time he took on the exercise duties and started teaching a new set of exercises. They were a lot easy and we could do it without breaking a sweat. After breakfast we went on for a session of rock climbing. The rock face was close to a vertical climb and we were taught the theory of rock climbing.. blah blah blah.. I did not listen to even a bit and then saw the trainers climb up the rock so easily.

Very soon bhargav went up the rock and even he struggled getting to the top of it. Rena and polls soon followed and then went synti. He was the only one who without taking the support of anyone finished the climb. Jishnu then went for the climb and slipped a lot in the starting. That got me very tensed as i was very doubtful of clearing it. My only worry was making a mess of the climb and embarrassing myself. Ninoy went before me and as i saw him struggling i started to get tensed. I could not do a single push up and i weighed a bit more than 80. Those fact made me more nervous as the trainer tied the rope round my waist.

I set off quite slowing and slipping around 3 times in total. I made my way up as my friends kept on cheering. Quite surprisingly i found rock climbing easier than doing push ups and that gave me the confidence of getting to the top. At the last climb i took the help of the trainer who then pushed me up by giving me a good foot hold to climb on to. I felt very happy when i finally finished it that i wanted to do it once more.. (Given the energy it drains, I would have fainted if i did it again :P )

After lunch we came back for rappelling and then there was the stupid boring theory again. But rappelling looked much simpler and easy to do. I soon went up to rappel my way down and on the instructions of my trainer i was asked to lean back and stay almost parallel to the ground. It was very very scary and i refused. The trainer asked me to let go of the rope then. I was yelling back to him. After a while i did as he said and thanks to the safety equipment i did not fall down. This gave me enough confidence to get back down safely.


We later went back to our camps and did our final packing. We had dinner and were ready to get on witho our trek starting tomorrow!! Finally some action – Yippie!!