Monday, July 7, 2014

Treks in Indian Himalayas

Manali Leh Cycling - June 2015

Today was going to be another tough. The initial stretch of around 20 odd kms was on a rolling terrain amidst beautiful surroundings till we reached base of the Gaata loops. Gaata loops is a set of 21 hairpin bends and some say it is the Alpe d'Huez of the Manali-Leh route. The climb to the top is around 11kms. The traffic on this route was really bad and the road too was in a bad state. Soon I reached the place where you offer a water bottle to the “Ghost of Gaata Loops”. The climb did not seem very daunting and we reached the top in little more than an hour. But the job was half done. We had another pass called the Nakee La, to climb. The altitude was killing and we were all tiring too as it took more than 2 hours to climb the of 8kms to the pass. I had to take a break every half a km.
For more see Manali Leh Cycling
Dhumdhar Kandi Pass - June 2014

I kept talking to myself, counting each step and taking rest after every 10-15 steps. I was marching quite confidently behind the guide and then when he shouted at me “Aram se ayiye, nahi to vahi chale jaoge jaha se aaye the” ( walk carefully otherwise, you would directly go to where you came from down below). I started to be more careful after those words but I still slowly followed him. All of us were on the pass after a while. Balawant told us that there might be ice cornices around the rocky edges and asked us to come very carefully till the end of the ridge.
For more see The Dhumdhar Kandi Pass
The Chadar Trek - Jan-Feb 2011

As they say “Man proposes God disposes”. After walking for a while we saw a group of villagers were sitting together and were having their lunch. We came to know that the Chadar was completely broken further and the water was quite deep, for the next 200 meters or so. There was no way, this section could be crossed. There were sheer rock walls on both sides and no route over the mountains as well. The only thing we could do was to wait and pray for the river to freeze.
For more see the The Chadar Trek

Roopkund and Ronti Saddle - June 2009
We started for the climb towards Ronti saddle. The climb to Ronti saddle was initially all on boulders. We realised very quickly that we were now walking at more than 16000 feet as we could feel the lack of oxygen. It was a tough climb negotiating the boulders and after a while we could see what we thought was the Ronti saddle. It looked so close yet appeared so far.

For more see the Roopkund and Ronti Saddle Trek

Dodital and Darwa Top - December 2008
The year 2008 has be a fantastic trekking year for us. We had done three different treks in almost different regions of the Indian Himalayas.
This is a trip report for the last of the three treks - the Dodital and Darwa Top Winter trek which started around Christmas time

For more see the Dodital and Darwa Top Trek

Mt Yunum - July 2008

We were on the South-East face of the mountain. We were making slow progress and enjoying the surroundings (whatever we could see using our head torches). There were some patches of snow, but most of the way was on boulders and scree.
I was feeling very confident and was walking at a good pace, but the altitude was killing. With every few steps one deep breath-resting step was necessary.

For more see Climbing Mt. Yunum

Tunganath-chopta - Feb 2008

As we started from Chopta, the snow became 2-3 feet deep. There is a clear trail from Chopta to Tunganath, however this time we couldn't spot any trail as it was all buried under snow. The climb was not very tough, just that the snow made it appear so. We were not wearing any gaiters and a lot of snow had entered my boots. This was quite irritating.

For more see Tunganath Chopta Trek

Kalindi Khal Trek -August- 2007

We were all woken up by a thunderous sound last night at about 2 AM. Actually nobody was sleeping. We just couldn’t sleep what with those avalanche sounds. Sandeep rushed out of the tent without putting any warm clothes. The sound had been so scary and so was the avalanche. The naughty Avalanche peak had been at it again. This was one of the biggest avalanches we had seen in the day and we had seen more than twenty five.

For more see Kalindi Khal Trek

Bara Bhangal Trek - October 2006

“This is some serious climbing”, panted Sandeep, as we huffed and puffed our way towards the pass. I could barely make out what he said. The trail was through the glacial moraine of the Kaliheni glacier. The gradient and the altitude, both were now taking their toll.

So here we were, on the trail, climbing towards the Kaliheni pass, finally after all those weeks of preparations.

For more see Bara Bhangal Trek

Kuari Pass Trek - October 2005

The views of the Himalayas from Taali are quite amazing. The view is around 120 degrees and on a clear day the peaks of Dronagiri, Trishul, Changabang, Hathi Parbat, Rishikot and the majestic Nanda Devi are clearly visible. When we reached, the entire view was clouded in a dense fog, but after a while as the weather cleared and the fog lifted, we saw the view, which will be etched, into our minds for a long time to come.

For more see Kuari Pass Trek

To Uttarkashi

Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."    
— Reinhold Messner.

It had been a fairly long time since Sandeep and I went for a regular Himalayan trek and we were determined to do a classic trek this time around. We had been discussing which trek to do, since the beginning of the year and had were finalizing on one from the Kang La trek from Lahaul to Padum, DDK from Jhala to Yamunotri, Auden's Col and some others. We wanted to do a tough one this time around. This is when we got talking to other friends from our running club. We debated and finally finalized on the DDK Pass coupled with the Yamunotri Pass.

Dhumdhar Kandi ( called DDK Pass ) is a known to be a tough, strenuous hike. The area lies between the Bhagirathi and Yamunotri watersheds. The trek offers absolutely fantastic views of the Kala nag and Banderpunch massifs. The pass itself is at a decently high altitude of around 5300 meters. 

So we started planning for the trek in early February. The team was formed and the preparations began. We called ourselves the Fab Five.

Brijesh– A strong and enthusiastic trekker. Full of energy, wit and always ready for an adventure. He was also our CFO designate.

Rohit – Extremely passionate about mountains. The only one amongst us with technical skills (with a basic course). Paranoid about AMS.

 Jagdish – The ultra man. He can walk and walk and walk endlessly. The one with a calmest head on his shoulders.

Sandeep – My hubby. Our leader. Always anxious and worried about the safety of the group.
Shilpa – Me.

All of us being from Bangalore, we started for the trek together on Friday the 13th. ( Talk about luck ).The journey was quite event less from Bangalore to Uttarkarshi. The weather in Delhi was very humid but the commute from the airport to New Delhi Railway Station was very smooth. We had nice and very economic dinner at some dhaba near the railway station. Piyush, one of the our common friends, who is from Delhi, visited us. He had done some shopping for us from Delhi and he graciously came to deliver the stuff to us at the railway station. After reaching Haridwar early next morning, we took a Vikram (almost a ritual now) for Rishikesh. At Natraj chowk, Rishikesh, we immediately got a jeep for Uttarkashi. This being the Yatra season, we were expecting the area to be crowded, however surprisingly, there was no rush. The locals told us that this was because of the last years calamity. The conditions of the roads were not very good as we began our trip to Uttarkashi.

We reached Uttarkashi at around noon. The guide (Balwant) was waiting for us at the hotel We discussed some logistics with the guide, made arrangements for the next day and the rest of the evening was spent in some more arrangements for the trek.

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Uttarkashi to Jhala

Some of us wanted to visit Gangorti before reaching to Jhala. However, we still had quite some work to finish in the morning and the trip was not fitting in, so we decided to drop the Gangotri plan. I was a little sad at this as I wanted to visit the Gangotri shrine. I have trekked in Uttarakhand for many years now but have never come here during this time of the year ( mid June ). The day light starts around 4.30 AM in the morning and there is a still a good amount of day light till about 7.30pm in the evening, I felt it was a perfect month and time to trek because of the longer days.
We had a very nice breakfast and decided to visit the Kashi Vishawanath temple. By the time we reached hotel, the porters had already boarded the jeeps. We started for Jhala around 10AM. I called up home for the final time as I thought there might not be cell phone connectivity beyond Uttarkashi.
There is a diversion to Jhala, before Harsil on the Gangotri route. But the bridge which connects the village of Jhala was broken and we had to go on till Harsil. Before this, we had nice lunch near Jhala. We had to walk about 5 to 6 km from this point. 

The regular campsite is inside a school in Jhala, but we camped in the village on the banks of Bhagirathi. The noise of the flowing river was very high but much more soothing than the noisy traffic which we face in Bangalore. 

In the evening, we went for a small walk along the river. Later on Sandeep decided to go and speak to some of the porters. Actually when we saw the the porters initially, we realized they were not much experienced and looked quite young. We were a little worried at this, because for a trek like this one needs real hardy and experienced porters (at least a few of them).
When Sandeep spoke to couple of them, we realized they didn’t have proper gear for the trek and they were unaware of the challenges of the trek. As a group, we had very heated discussion with the Balwant on this issue. It was only after his multiple assurances that everything would turn out to be fine, that we decided to go ahead. In fact, one person amongst the porters (Suresh) was actually an experienced climber and had led multiple successful expeditions to Satopanth, Kamet, Mukut and so on. That was very assuring for us.

Stuck on the river side

Today was the official start of the trek as yesterday we didn't walk much. It was 16th of June and I was reminded of the fact that it was exactly on the the same day last year that the great calamity took place in this area.
We were all ready by 7AM. The initial walk was on the well marked trail. We had to cross the river today. The Sian Gad meets the Bhagirathi somewhere after the village of Jhala and we had to cross the Sian Gad so that we can come on to the true left of the river. 

Till before last year, teams have been crossing the river using log bridges, however, this time around all the bridges had vanished.
When we started our day, the flow of the river was very high. So the guide decided to climb up the ridge above the river and see if we could avoid the river crossing. Unfortunately, he couldn't find any such route and we decided to cross the river. This was not just crossing one stream, but a series of small and large stream which we had to cross to start the day for the hike till Jhadunga. 

But Suresh , who was a big help to us and to our guide suggested that it will be too risky to cross the river in spate and so we had to find another route. With this, we started hiking up on the mountain in the forest. The climb was tough in the hot sun and it seemed never ending. As we climbed, I could a see a ridge and then another and then another, but could not see any trail to go down to other side. Our guide would go ahead of us asking us to wait then after a while asked us to climb behind him. This was the pattern till we had climbed almost around 600 mts that day. The porters were behind us and they too were tiring now. 


After a while Suresh came up from behind and called us to climb down as there was no route further up. The climbing down part was really scary. It was while we were climbing down, we met Sathya who was attempting the “Kaala Naag” summit. His party too was stuck on the ridge because of the missing log bridges on the Sian Gad.


After climbing and waiting, at around 2.30 PM, we descended down to the river bed. The descent was terrible what with the trail breaking at every step. One of the sections was so steep that we had to use the rope here.

 After a long and treacherous descent we were at the river bed. The guide decided to put a camp here itself as the weather had started to turn sour. To add to our consternation, we could see the now see a log bridge on this side which we could have easily crossed in the morning to reach Jadunga. However, we were on the side where we wanted to be.

This was supposed to be an easy day which turned to be tough due to the unnecessary climbs. But thats what trekking is all about. A bad trail, a river in spate, a bad weather can turn your plans topsyturvy. There was no height gain today, we were at the same altitude and about 300 meters from where we started. The rest of the evening was spent in talking to Sathya and checking his maps. We had a fair idea of the route from his maps.

Near Kiyarkoti

Since we already lost one day, Balwant decided to go ahead of Jadunga till the beginning of Kiyarkoti. Now just a clarification here. I think quite a few places on this trek are named Kiyarkoti. There is one which comes after Jadunga, another which is closer to the pass and then a third one which come after crossing the pass. I think Kiyarkoti is actually a region with multiple campsite options. Sathya and team had come to wish us early in the morning and they were planning to start already. We started our day at around 7.30 AM. The initial climb was over boulders as we climbed. The trail was relatively easy to negotiate in the early part. 

Everyone was enjoying the easy walk on the trail as yesterday was relatively tough. However, soon enough the trail went missing due to land slides and we had to again cross the Sian Gad to the other side and then cross back to get on to the trail. There were tree logs which the gaddis might have been dropped on the river which we used for the crossing. Eventually all of us crossed safely. 

We reached Jhadunga which was a nice campsite sometime in the early afternoon, but our plan was to go ahead.

The porters were little behind us and the guide wanted to check with them if we could go ahead. We rested for about an hour and then decided to go a little ahead. The trail for the remaining couple of hours was horribly strenuous and kept challenging us throughout. 

On top of it, the weather was also changing. By the time we reached the campsite it had started drizzling. The campsite was before the actual Kiyarkoti, on a green meadow. It was a indeed a beautiful campsite, with lovely view of the forest, except for the fact, there was no flat ground here. It was all on a slope. It had been another long and tiring day for us. We trekked around 11km and the altitude gain was around 1000 mts to 3540 mts.


Today's trek was mainly through dense birch forest. We walked along the Sian Gad on its true left bank. In the evening, all of us talked and gossiped a bit. We were all tired but it was good to see that the spirits were high. We were all enjoying the challenges.

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Above the mighty Sian Gad

It was a cold morning as I got up. Typically, we used to get up by around 5:30 AM. I couldn't sleep properly last night as the tents were pitched on slope. I kept rolling down throughout. Sandeep on the other hand was snoring. As I got up and came out, I inquired about Rohit. He had not been feeling well in the evening . Thankfully after a night's rest he was back to normal.

As we started our walk after a humble breakfast, we encountered a trail that was completely broken.

We also had to cross plenty of small streams. The noisy Sian Gad kept reminding me that we need to cross it soon in the coming days.

 After a while, the walk was through the some green pastures,boulders and through some streams. It was quite an easy day as compared to the earlier days. We were making slow and steady progress as we wanted to be totally acclimatized to these altitudes. Suddenly as we we were negotiating a small boulder zone, I saw that Rohit taking a tumble. He had a bad fall and all of us rushed towards him. We were relieved as he got up. Fortunately it was nothing more than some scratches and small bruises. 


At around 1 pm we came across a small clearing with birch trees. The guide decided to pitch the tents as porters were also tiring from the last couple of days. It was indeed a great campsite. We were surrounded by snow clad mountains. There was a sparse growth of birch trees, there were small snow bridges down to the river, boulders interspersed with and some greenery. We had gained about 300 meters today as we camped at 3810mts.


The afternoon was spent outside the tents which helped in the acclimatization. It was very cold at this altitude and there was a slight wind as well.

 In the evening, we had a good chat with Suresh for a long time. He had climbed various 7thousenders including Mt Satopanth and Mt Kamet multiple times. He talked at length about his climbing expeditions. That gave all of us a lot of confidence. We knew we were in good hands, what with Suresh being there.

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Rocky camp near Sian Gad

Yesterday we had decided to take a rest day, but last evening everybody was feeling alright so Balwant decided we would try to go to as close as base camp. The monsoon had not yet set in and according to Suresh, the monsoon could set in around the 22nd June, which was couple of days from now. We wanted to cross the pass before the full fledged monsoon sets in. We all agreed with the guide on this and decided to forgo the rest day.
We started early today. Even if we were around 4000mts, I could still see some green patches here and there. The walk was on mostly on boulders in the glacial moraines which was had some grassy patches. This made the walking relatively easier today. 

Since we were around 4000mts, we were now in real mountain territory. We could feel the thin air and all around us were unnamed snow clad peaks many of which were well over 6000 meters. After a while we reached a point from where I could see the Sian Gad flowing in its full glory.

 Now the guide told us that we need to cross it, go on to the true right and from there start our ascent towards the DDK Base. Suresh and Balwant went ahead to check if we could cross it from somewhere ahead. The river was in full spate at this time. It was around 10AM and we were all willing to cross and go ahead. After a while Suresh came back and told us we won't be able cross it today. The crossing would be extremely risky as the river was in full flow and water would be more than chest high.
We didn't have any other option but to camp here. It was just 10AM and we were going to lose this day as well. Sandeep was little disappointed with guide and he went to have a discussion with Balwant on his planning. While talking to guide, he also came to know that we were running a little short on rations as well. This was a big cause of worry. We had lost almost two days, but we had compensated by not taking a rest day. So today was like a rest day itself. Later on we realized, that this was a proper campsite. It was actually one of the best campsites on this trek. It was amidst the huge mountains on all side. The massive Sian gad was flowing right next to the campsite. The campsite was also one of the flattest ground I have camped.
Later in the afternoon, Sandeep went for an acclimatization walk a little high up,Brijesh was reading. Rohit, Jaggi and I played cards for some time. We had nothing much to do today.


We were camping on the true left of the Sian gad and the following day we would be crossing it and turning right in the valley towards the base camp. It was nice and sunny in the afternoon but later in the afternoon the wind picked up and the temperature dropped suddenly. In the early evening we walked around the campsite. Rohit tried to show us some rock climbing skills. We had some hot pakoras for snacks as well. After having an early dinner we called it close early in the night. The plan was to cross the river as early as possible the next day.

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Crossing the Sian Gad and a long long haul to DDK Base camp

This day will definitely be one of the most memorable days of my trekking life. We got ready and started around 5.45AM as we had planned to cross the river hoping that the flow was reduced. However, when I looked at the raging river, I didn't feel see difference in the flow as compared to the previous day. I was a little scared, in fact all of us were apprehensive about the crossing. Again, the resourceful Suresh went ahead, somehow crossed the river and anchored the rope on the other side. All Balawant tied the slings around each of us and we decided to cross one by one. 


I ventured out to be the first one to cross, however, looking the jumps on the rocks, I backed out. Brijesh was the first one to cross. After that Jaggi crossed and as he was crossing, the river suddenly swelled up. I saw that he had to go inside the water as the flow as had increased by this time. Sandeep insisted that I should go after that Jaggi as he was worried about me.

 I gathered all my strength and will power. More than the flow, I was really worried about the freezing water. The first part of the river crossing was done without me getting into water. The later part, the water level had swelled so much that I had but no choice than to get into the water and while I was doing that I slipped on the rock. For the first time, I realized what it meant to be taken away by the flow and to drown. The force of the water was so high and the river, it was trying to pull me with it. Tears automatically started rolling from my eyes, I had forgotten that I was well anchored. A porter gave me a hand and I reached the other side. At the other side the site of Jaggi made me realize that I had crossed safely to the other side. It took only but a few minutes to cross the river, however, for me it seemed like a life time. My feet and my fingers were on fire after the crossing, but I did not mind that. Everybody including the porters crossed safely and I was much relieved. The whole of this had taken more than two hours. It was finally at around 8 that we started our climb to the base camp. The guide had already told us that today it was going to be a long day. After walking for a while, we were negotiating snow and boulders and were walking on glacial moraine. It took us sometime to get adjusted to walking on snow. The snow was soft and it was very easy to slip. We were making slow and steady progress towards the base. 

The whole terrain had now changed considerably as we were in true Himalayan country. There were huge snow fields, ice fields and towering mountains around us. We could also hear sound of rock fall and avalanches as we climbed. We were above 4200 mts and I could feel the altitude while negotiating this terrain.

As we climbed a ridge, we decided to take some rest and have our packed lunch. We had been walking for a long time without rest and all of us were hungry and thirsty. After lunch, we had to make a steep climb again. After climbing a narrow ridge, it seemed that the mountains had drawn closer to us. All around us were massive snow clad peaks. It was at around 2 pm, we reached a small clearing. The guide mentioned that the actual campsite was a few meters ahead, but that would mean, we had to camp on snow. So we decided to camp here itself. Although, this place itself was not a very ideal site for the camp, it looked better than camping on snow. From this point, we also got the first view of the rocky pass. The last section of the pass looked very steep. It was a sheer wall of ice, but I decided to worry about that later. We were at an altitude of around 4750 meters. The porters were struggling today as they did not have a lot of experience walking on snow for such long durations. Some of them had never been to such altitude earlier.
Once all the porters arrived, Suresh asked them whether they were ready to go ahead today and camp in the snow which would ultimately reduce the effort on the next day. However, given that not all the porters were equipped with the good equipment to deal with the snow conditions, we decided to camp in the rocky moraine itself.


This was a very windy camp. The wind had picked up right from the time we started to setup the tents. All of us were feeling the altitude as well. Nobody wanted to put any extra effort and the best thing was to conserve the energy. I could hear rocks tumbling and small avalanches around us. This was scary, but we were well protected. We were not camping near a rock fall region.
Simple things like getting in and out of the tents would leave one huffing and puffing. So we decided to just stay put and not do anything much in terms of going around and exploring. We had decided to make an early start given the snow conditions, so all of us decided to hit the sack early today. I could not sleep well tonight as I kept thinking about the crossing.

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D-Day. Crossing the DDK Pass

I am very happy to write about this day. Happy because this was a day all of us were really worried about and we all including the support team made it back safe and sound. There were minor incidences yes, but nothing which we had to regret later. I must say, it was indeed one of the most challenging days of my trekking life, but then very happy to have seen it thorough.
We started early, around 5.15AM towards the pass. It was very cold in the morning, one of the coldest days on the trek. Thankfully, the weather was still holding good. The sky was clear and there were very few clouds that I could see. We all huddled together and I said a small prayer before we started. We were really going to need all the Mountain Gods to be with us today

Rohit had given his snow boots to Balwant so that it would be easy for him make steps in snow. When we started, there was no sun, but as the sun rose in the sky, all the surrounding mountains were glowing and were golden as the sun rays kissed their tops. This was a site beyond any words. I felt absolutely humbled in front of nature's glory.


We were all making steady progress as we climbed towards the pass. After a while, I smelt what seemed like gasoline on the snowfield. It was only after a while we realized that one of the porters had a fall and he spilled around ten liters of kerosene on the snowfield. Now that was not a good news. 

I was walking with the guide, and he told me that we had taken a round about route and now we would have to descend down on to the glacier and then climb up again. Believe me, the descent down was very scary, since the snow was not very soft and in between we had slick ice. We were all descending very carefully now. I was tagging along with the guide.

We all had so many falls, but thankfully none of them were serious. Negotiating the snow, the killer altitude and the thin air was making our going tough, but with every step we were reaching closer to our destination. We reached just below the pass from where the last tough climb to reach to the pass commenced. This was a sheer wall of ice. It was so steep that I thought, the guide would ask all of us to use a rope to climb up, but that was not to be. The pass looked so close to but the route was very steep.

As the sun came up, the snow was getting softer and the guide was making steps so that we could follow him. I was right behind the guide. Every step was so hard on the heart. I realized that this was no mind over body. I did not want to tire and I would never give up. It was all a mind game from here on. I kept talking to myself, counting each step and taking rest after every 10-15 steps. I was marching quite confidently behind the guide and then when he shouted at me “Aram se ayiye, nahi to vahi chale jaoge jaha se aaye the” ( walk carefully otherwise, you would directly go to where you came from down below). I started to be more careful after those words but I still slowly followed him. All of us were on the pass after a while. Balawant told us that there might be ice cornices around the rocky edges and asked us to come very carefully till the end of the ridge.

We reached at top at 9.45 am and the views from top were out of the world. This was for the first time on the pass Sandeep and I got the best views. 

The weather was still holding good. One by one all our team members including all the porters arrived. As Jaggi reached on top of the pass, he looked exhausted. Later on he told me he had vomited while climbing up, but he was still looking very calm and composed at the top.


We were all happy and ecstatic at the pass. We had dreamt of these views, had done all the hard work and we were not disappointed. Kala Naag (6387 meters), the Banadarpunch ranges (6316 meters) were clearly visible. There were colorful lakes of blue and green hue that were visible on the glacier, the huge ice fall from the Kala naag also appeared daunting. The whole snowfield was heavenly crevassed. Swargrohini (6250 meters) ranges were playing hide and seek in the cloud. Every time I looked around, I just wanted to soak in, into the beauty. The guide did the customary pooja atop the pass. We celebrated for sometime and then started another ordeal. I had forgotten that we need to get down on the other side. There was very steep descent from the pass, full of slick ice and snow and without ropes it would be not possible to go down. The guide fixed one end of the rope at the top and he went down to fix the rope at the other end. First the porters decided to climb down. It was a very slow process. The rope could take only one single person at a time. It was a tad risky if we had multiple people on the rope. Each one of us were taking almost 15-20mins to getting down. I was worried because we had never been on top of the pass for so long and the chances of weather turning bad were very high. Jaggi and Rohit went first amongst us as they both were not feeling well and descending down was the best option. All the porters went down. Brijesh and I were the last one to go down. We were on the pass for almost 3hrs waiting our turn to go down.

The descent on the rope was also very scary. The rope was only one length , 100mts so we could descend only 100mts. At the end of the descent, the ice was very slick and it was difficult to keep the balance hanging on to the rope. it was all slippery snow and we were all stopping just short of a big crevasse.
As I got down, I was happy to see everyone make it safe. Jaggi too was looking strong. At around 1 pm everybody was down the pass and I knew it was going to be tough route from here on in the slippery snow. It is easy to climb in the soft/slippery ice but its difficult to negotiate the soft snow while descending. Balwant gave the marching orders and we followed. This time his instructions were to follow his footsteps very carefully.
I have known this, as I have done quite a few high altitude passes that reaching the pass is challenging itself but the more challenging part is descending down and reaching safely to the camp site as it is a very common to lose focus once the summit is achieved.
At this time, we were crossing the snow field and suddenly a big rock came rolling from above and I didn't even notice it. Balwant ran towards me in a jiffy pulled me out, just avoiding the rock. I thanked him many times. I don't even want to imgine what would have happened if he wouldn't pulled me like this. The whole area was prone to rock falls and after this, I saw multiple rocks falling all around us.

Rohit and I was walking ahead with a few of porters. Sandeep,Brijesh and Jaggi were with Suresh, a little behind us. Suddenly one of the porters slipped on the ice and did multiple somersaults and was headed towards a big crevasse. Luckily, he stopped just before the crevice. Everybody was just shocked and were standing still for few seconds. 

This is when he got up and we realized that he was absolutely safe. We were all so so relieved. I would have described the beauty of the surroundings, but the going was very tough now. All I can say is that I was walking amongst the shadow of the mighty Kala naag, with the heavily crevassed snowfields on my left.
After a while I saw Sandeep struggling while getting down the snowfield. He was prostrate and finding it difficult to get up on the slippery snow and on the other side the guide was shouting at Rohit and me to go ahead as we were standing near a big crevasse. I saw Suresh helping Sandeep to move ahead and only then I was relieved.

Once we crossed the crevasse zone, we were quite relaxed. All of us had countless falls in the snowfield and we had been walking for a long time now. There was still no sign of campsite. We crossed the regular campsite of Arjun Jhari and I was surprised, there is no “jhari” here, it is all a big snowfield. Our guide did want to camp in the snow and insisted that we go further at the end of the snow field.
Once the snowfield ended, we started negotiating boulders. Everybody was tired and most of the so called accidents happen when the body and mind are not sync. During one such section, Brijesh also slipped. He slipped and landed very near the edge of a cliff with a sheer drop of around 200 meters. Our heartbeats stopped momentarily. Luckily for all of us, his fall was automatically arrested just before the big drop. Thats when I realized that the day had not yet ended. When Balwant saw Brijesh fall like that, he got very angry and asked us to be doubly attentive. The walk was not going to be an easy one. As they say during the marathons , the last mile is always difficult. The same was true here. We had almost walked for 11 hours but still had to struggle in the end to to reach the campsite. The campsite was visible but it looked so far. Then again, because of the last years flash floods, all the trails were destroyed and we were having a very hard time negotiating the broken ridges.
Finally after a long long haul, we reached the campsite at around 5.30 pm. It was the longest day on the trek for us. Every part of the body was crying out in pain, but it was the most beautiful feeling in this world to be safely sitting in the tents. Jaggi too was ok after reaching the campsite. He remained very composed throughout and did not even once crib.
Wow, what a day it had been. Everybody was safe and sound in spite those incidences. I should say we were very lucky. I turned my mind to the campsite, once I had composed myself. This campsite was also very beautiful. Behind our camps, the massive Kala Naag and Banderpunch glaciers met. In front of the camp was the massive Swargrohini peak. 

It was as if all these peaks were guarding and protecting us. We were still at a decently high altitude of around 4600mts, but all of us were openly relieved and were happy to be ensconced in the safety of the tents. 

Later in the evening, Sandeep went to speak to the guide. All of us were still ready for the Bali Pass, but we
needed to take stock of our rations and fuel. It was indeed not a good situation. If we had to do Bali Pass, we would have to get rations from a long way and this would mean additional three to four days which we did not have. We all had a discussion and decided to skip Bali pass. It was not as if there was any more adventure lacking in the trek and Bali Pass would be done some other time.

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