Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tsumo - Near Gyalpo

We woke up early because the plan was to skip the campsite of Dib caves and go ahead.

It was 5th February and Subbu’s birthday so we all wished him. It was 8.30AM when we started for the day. We came to know from one of the groups that came over that the Chadar was all good ahead but we knew that Chadar can change in few hours so we were keeping our fingers crossed.

It had continued to snow through out the night and so a thick layer was formed on top of the slippery ice. It was little easy to walk on the powder snow but we had to be careful in some sections where the ice was slippery. Soon we reached grand and majestic frozen waterfall where we spent some time again. The walk was nice and easy.

After walking for about three and a half hours, we reached Dib caves and decided to have lunch here. On the way Raghu drank water directly from the flowing river ( generally we had seen only porters drink water this way). Later on he really had trouble with his throat and he was coughing all the way. After lunch, when Lobsang ji told us that we would directly try and go to the Gyalpo, I realized it was going to be long day.

The surrounding mountains had good amount of fresh snow. On the way, when I saw some big rocks on the Chadar, I thought some rock fall might have happened earlier and decided to cross this section quickly.

There was a big section which had water, I was alone when I was trying to cross this section and slipped on the ice. The river was flowing right next to me. I decided to be careful and be in the company of the guide in these tricky sections. On the way we met lot of local people, they were all going towards Padum.I was wondering how these people would cross the broken section of Chadar which we had crossed using fishing boot. Maybe and hopefully the Zanskar would have frozen in that section by now.

Today porters were slow and they still had not overtaken us. Lobsang ji then decided that maybe we could take it a little easy and camp an hour before Gyalpo at a place called Tsumo.

We reached Chadar Gate, the narrowest section on the Chadar, just before Tsumo. It was one the most beautiful sections of Chadar Trek. I was with Lobsang ji now and the general talk took us to deaths on Chadar. He told me that last year, a couple of people had died on the Chadar and a few years back, one person had died near the Chadar Gate primarily because his health was not good.

Chadar Gate is a very narrow section surrounded by big rock faced mountains. I asked Lobsang ji “what if Chadar is broken at this part of the gate??” He told it generally doesn’t break here but if it breaks then one has to cross this part from the mountains.

We reached the campsite at 3PM. We could have pushed till Gyalpo but our porters were still behind us.

Raghu and Vani distributed chocolates to everyone for Subbu’s birthday. (Subbu has promised a treat in Bangalore for his birthday..if you are reading this Subbu, we are still waiting).

Raghu and Vani told us that they planned to leave early tomorrow and would try to reach Leh on the same day. Their flight to Delhi was a day before ours.

After having a good dinner we hit the sack early at around 8.

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