Sunday, September 30, 2007

Long, long haul to Badrinath

4th September

We had to follow the course of the Arwa River today. We started to ascend a ridge at about 7 in the morning. We had a very long way to go today. Just as the ridge ended, we could see a sea of boulders. Harsh had already moved ahead with the porters and JP, Moiz, Sandeep and I were walking together with our guide. After descending from the ridge on to the boulder field and then to the river bed, we finally got to see some greenery. We had to cross a lot of streams possibly more than fifteen on this day. Most of them were simple jumps across but a few of them really required us to be cautious.

The massive Arwa mountains were around us. These are some of the trickiest peaks in the Himalayas for climbers.

Overall, the route was not as bad as every day and the final few kilometers to Ghastoli were on flat ground. Ghastoli is a very scenic place and I wish we had camped here for the night. There was an amazingly beautiful pond created by melting glaciers near Ghastoli. See the confluence of Araw Naala and Sarswati River at Ghastoli :

It was around 1 PM by the time we had reached Ghastoli. Ghastoli has an ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police) check post where our permits were going to be checked by the officials.

We found Harsh and our porters waiting for us at the check post. Usually this process does not take more than a few minutes and the ITBP folks are quite helpful. But in our case, one of us (Yogesh) and a porter had gone back from Vasuki Taal. We had the permits for both of them, and they themselves were not present. This created lot of fuss with the officials. One of the officials even asked Sandeep if Yogesh had run away to China. Finally they managed to let us go, after we gave a written note about Yogesh but the process had taken a better part of the hour. The ITBP folks were quite friendly otherwise and even offered us tea and suggestions on how to reach Badrinath. We had no option of camping at Ghastoli because we did not have any additional ration left with us. The only option was to go to Badrinath.

The road head from Ghastoli is just about 4 km. The terrain was well marked as ITBP people use this route regularly. We could not get a vehicle from the road head and this meant walking the additional 10 kms to Mana. Mana is the last village on the Indian side. We covered the final 10 kms in probably 2 hours as this was the easiest walk of the trek with greenery around. We could see Mana village from the distance and wow it was such big relief to finally see some civilization. On the way to Mana we crossed the mythological "Bhim Pul" which is actually two very big boulders on the Sarswati for crossing the River.

As we got first site of civilization, both Harsh and Moiz shouted, "Are dekho insaan insaan" (“Hey see, humans humans”). We were in civilization after around 12 days.

At around 5.30 PM we reached the village of Mana and we could see the villagers starring at us. I think all of us were in very miserable condition not looking like civilized beings at all.

All of us including porters had tea at "India’s last tea shop” in Mana. This is the place where our cell phones also started working and we called up our respective homes telling them we were safe. We also called up Yogesh and were relieved to find that he too had reached Delhi safe and sound.

As we got into a jeep for Badrinath, our wonderful trek ended. We were all happy that it ended with all us being safe.

With a little help from my friends

It was always sad moment for me at the end of a trek and sadder still when you have to part with your friends with whom you had the honor and joy of trekking. I think Kalindi for me wouldn’t have been possible if I did not have the company of such great friends.

What Next

When we were in the mountains, we all had enough discussions about our next adventure. There, all of us were of the opinion that we have had enough adventure on this tough trek and we would choose a simple trek for next time. As we started descending down and as we reached Badrinath, people have again brought out the tough Auden’s Col, Dhumdhar Kandi, etc. Some of us are even thinking that we should go climbing next.

So keep watching this space for our next adventure details.

I had always been intrigued by this line. I started to understand its meaning only after the trek of Kalindi Khal.

There is always a certain element of risk in being alive, but – The more alive you are the more the risk

- Ibsen.



kanishka said...

I read your complete report with a lot of interest. Kalindhikal is on the radar for me and my trekking buddies for 2010. We are currently trying to learn more about the route and figure out how well it matches our capabilities.

Complements on an excellent trip report, with a lot of attention to detail. I feel like I have a reasonable idea of what to expect now. Of course, no amount of reading can perfectly prepare you for the reality, but that's part of the excitement of being in the mountains.

I will read your other trip reports as well: they look very interesting!

Kanishka Lahiri.

krishna said...

Thnaks for detailed report.Really enjoyed reading it,very witty and hilarious.I am from bangalore planning to do khalindi khal trek in september 2013.Can you tell me how to contact budhi your guide,did you guys personally hired budhi?is it a per day kind of package?Did you people took all the equipment or the guide arranged it?Sorry for asking so many questions.Finding a reliable guide for this trek is getting difficult for me.

Indira Mullick said...

Hello.........this may help Kanishka lahiri. You were looking for Budhi, the guide's no ? It is +91 94105 40459

I had the chance of contacting him over a trek matter. However, we are going with a diff operator.
Indira Mullick

Indira Mullick said...

This may help Kanishka Lahiri. Budhi guide's no +91 94105 40459.

We had contacted him for a trek. However have taken an operator from Delhi.
Indira Mullick

om.a said...

Very well written trip report,
I think I am reading it for the second time, but havent commented on.

Well done, and all the very best for your future treks.