This time for a change we were served bed tea at 2:30 and we were given an hour to get ready to start the mother of all treks till date – “THE SARPASS”. I got up and just took a stroll down the camp. The wind was strong and it was freakishly cold. Luckily the skies were clear and the stars still visible. Thanks to the near full moon the was enough lighting to see around. The snow reflected more moon light making an awesome sight.

It took me a while to gather up the guts to answer to the longer version of Nature’s call. I should say it was an amazing experience doing that on snow under the moonlight looking at the never ending chain of moutains whose peaks glittered with snow. As i went to a trans admiring the beautiful and awesome sights. My fingers and my A** went numb. I couldn’t feel them anymore. I freaked out and walked back to the camp rubbing my fingers to give them any warmth i could get. After a good hot coffee served at the camp i could get back my fingers. It was my first coffee in my life and what a perfect timing to have one at an altitude of 12500 ft. That will be one coffee i will never forget.. Never..

In a few minutes we were served breakfast and were given some dry sweet to keep the calories running for the day. We packed and were all set to go at 4.00 AM. After we offered prayers to the Almighty we took off. The first few steps to the snow were amazingly difficult and many slipped and struggled to get past. After a few steps my confidence grew and i was now walking at a healthy pace across the snow. Slowly my body was perspiring and was able to maintain a good temperature inspite the freezing winds blowing across the face of the mountain. In a while we stopped in order to wait for the laggards of the group and then i started to feel the cold. I started shivering as i just had my track pants on. The cold started to get intense and i was pleading for the sun to come out and give me the warmth.

Luckily we started moving and my body temperature starting raising again as we climbed the 60 degree climbs one step at a time. A few more moments there sitting would have caused permanent damage to my feet!! As we climbed on and on the gradient got higher. One slip and we would have rolled on the hard ice surface several thousand feet into the valley. It was a scary sight from the top, but the only option i had to was to keep climbing. It soon was a 75 degree climb and i had to literall crawl along the surface of the snow with the help of the stick that i had been carrying since Padri camp.

The guide made grooves along the way with his ice axe where in we could pierce our stick and climb up using that as the fulcrum. Soon it was 6 and the sun had started to come out. With him were the warm and soothing rays that i really enjoyed after all the experience i had in the morning. This was probably the first time i really loved the sun rise and i was literally cheering him on. The sun posed another danger, the one of melting snow and thus getting a slippery track to trek on in the future. Bhargav and gang inspired me to finish the hard climb without any more stoppages and by 7:30 we were on sarpass. We were so happy, we congratulated one another and joined the gujarati gang who were doing Garbha. It was an amazing experience dancing at 13000 ft with snow all around and the glory of achieving the unthinkable – SARPASS.. Oh wait!!

The guide then said there was another 3 hour trek before we finished. We were still happy thinking what more could be there ahead. We had already done the steepest climb till now that too in snow and that gave us the confidence to move on for an hour. Soon the body was draining energy mostly to keep up the body temperature. All of us started to feel weak and after a small 50 ft climb that was ahead of us i started giving out. A good dose of glucose and a frooti brought my spirits up and for the next hour i was trekking at snails pace along the slope in what was a familiar scenario by now ( one slip and you are straight into the valley ~ 2000 ft deep)

We crossed a fools peak in between only to realise what we had a 80 degree climb before us. I wanted to give up but all i had done over the past week would just go to drain. I wanted to do it so badly and be home. I started the climb, it was more like climbing parallel to the mountain face literally. When ever i took a break and stood straight, Rena freaked out as if i were to drop down. The only consolation this time was that we knew we wouldn’t roll down and die, but rather had to do the entire climb again! The second proposition was also scary to think off!!

I crawled my way up the mountain and the end i took the help of the Sherpa who pulled my up. I wanted to stand tall and scream till the end of the world, but had only enough energy to curl up and sit at a corner. I could see the lunch point from the top. 3 kms down, but we only had to go down sliding as if it were a giant slide. I could see people sliding their way through sometimes reaching speeds in excess of 40 Kmph. Jishnu had made a mess of his slide and rolled spectacularly. It reminded me of massa’s crash in formula 1 last year. He was safe as snow was more merciful. I was sliding on my tracks and the guide asked me to brake hard with my elbows as my speeds may get uncontrollable. A few moments later i took off screaming my way down at amazing speed. I was down in a flash but i really enjoyed every moment of the slide wanting to do that again. It only took me another half an hour to do the remaining 2 kms sliding and running down slope on the snow. After lunch (omellette and maggi) and quick nap i took off for Biskeri camp.

It was a bad descent with sticky mud, melting snow and big boulders. All along the way we were treated to awesome waterfalls combining to form a bigger stream parallel to the path. By 3 we reached Biskeri camp and i went straight to bed. I had picked up cold and fever thanks to the one mistake of putting the tracks in the morning instead of the cotton pants.

After a nap, I had nice soup and some aloo bajji with a dose of Dolo 650. It got me up and energetic in a while and then we played Wolf and literature till we got tired and dozed off!



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