Thursday, August 11, 2022

Treks in Himalayas and Western Ghats

Pin Bhabha Pass - Aug 2022
The first hour was a straightforward walk in the meadows which lead to a small climb in the pine forests. The wild flowers in the meadows were deep yellow and purple color and were blooming all around. We climbed through the forest which was again on a well marked trail and then negotiated some small, scattered boulders to reach the river bank for the river crossing. We were expecting the crossing to be tough and challenging, but to our surprise, the river crossing turned out to be very smooth. So the first hurdle of the day was negotiated without any trouble
For more see Pin Bhabha Pass
Shang La and Matho La - Sep 2019 
The top was very windy and it was cooler than what I was expecting. After spending some time at the pass, it was now time to descent on the other side. Typically, the descent from the pass is also sometime tricky and requires caution. We were all very cautious as we carefully negotiated the trail climbing down the pass. After a while, we got down near a small meadow alongside a fast flowing river. The campsite was another couple of hours walk from here

For more see Shang La and Matho La
Lambri Pass Trek - Feb 2018
We climbed up to  “Nochi Top” and then there was a very steep descent to be negoitiated. Ved was contemplating whether we should use fix a rope here to get down. But there was enough soft snow along the slope and the chances of slipping were less. So we decided to descend without any rope.  The descent was around 200 to 300 mts and we took quite some to go down. The snow was ankle deep mostly, however at some places it was knee deep. We were very watchful and with the help of our great support staff we didn’t have much trouble negotiating the descent.

For more see Lambri Pass Trek

Tadiyendamol Trek - October 2017 (Western Ghats)
The group was divided into multiple sub-groups. One sub-group was ahead of me and one was behind. I was the only one in my group and enjoying my solitary walk in the downpour which had now become very heavy. There was the occasional thunder in between and I was taking each step very carefully with a feeling of great contentment. 

For more see Tadiyendamol Trek

Sara Umga and Animal Pass - September 2016
One mistake, one small slip and down you fall on the glacier bed. We were making slow progress but it was alright because we were being very cautious with each step. The altitude was not that much of a problem, but the daunting terrain was. At one point I was just left hanging on the climb. I was on all fours and completely sprawled on the sheer rock face. It was only when Ved came and gave his hand, that I started to climb again. Finally we managed to make it to the top of the climb. We were all happy and were celebrating as though we had reached the top of the actual pass, when in fact we hadn't even covered 20% of the climb. There was much to be negotiated, to be climbed and crawled that was ahead of us. They say that in the mountains things always are further than they appear and sometimes much harder than they look. That could not be far from true today.
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 NakeeLa, 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.
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.

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