day in Corbett
Yatra / Trek
5th October 2004 ( Bhojwasa
- Raktavan 12 kms )
It was a beautiful sunny day as we woke up at 6.00 a.m. The lovely and
spectacular view of the Himalayas right in front of us left us breathless not
only because of the view but also it was very cold and our bodies had not acclimatized
as yet . After breakfast and ensuring that all our goods were taken by the
porters , We started towards
Gaumukh at around 8.00AM and were on the Gaumukh glacier by 11.00AM. From here
on began the real adventure. We had to cross over one part of the glacier to
get to the meadows, higher up. Scrambling up the scree slope (loose rocks and
gravel mixed with the glacier water) that is at a gradient of nearly 70
degrees , forcing us to crawl up on all four. It took us an hour and a
half to tackle this and get across to the meadows. Once in the meadows it was
another 5kms trek to our base camp, which would be our home away from home,
for the next 7 days. Finally on the 5th at 3.30 p.m, we reached the base camp,
pitching our tents at an altitude of 14800feet.
LAPS turned back to Uttarkashi from here after dumping our luggage at Base Camp.
Now we were just a team of 12 members, 8 from Delhi and the 2 HAPs, Girish
& Harish , The guide Lakshaman Singh and Manoj (HAP cum cook).
2004 to 9th October 2004
evening we unpacked all our equipment and the provisions, and
repacked them as per our mountain itinerary. Next morning would be
one of those days I would term as a perfect morning. The sun rose from
the horizon casting its rays all over the snow capped mountains all
around us. But the best of the lot was the golden rays falling on Mt.
Shivling (6543mts) that stood tall and magnificent right behind our
tent. Mt. Shivling is on the Gaumukh glacier. Magic, absolutely magic!
The sun was up and shinning on the clear blue sky. After breakfast, as
per our itinerary for that day we would be ferrying some provisions and
equipment to the the next highest point some 4 kms away and then get
back . And that would be our routine for the next three days . Me Subrat
and Jeetram would be doing some load ferrying with the HAPs Which
basically meant that we would trek up to the next highest campsite,
boulder hopping and crossing some glacier streams, to get up there and
dump the provisions and equipment and return back to the lower camp by
evening the same day. Which, as they say, is the best way to get
acclimatized. It's very important for anyone going to high altitudes, to
get acclimatized if he/she is planning to have a good time. The main
reason being lack of sufficient oxygen, as you get higher, which gives a
splitting headache and makes one feel very nauseate. He or she doesn't
feel as hungry as usual, which means insufficient intake of food.
Tiredness and fatigue sets in very fast. And, of course, the worst case
would be to suffer from HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) or HAPE
(High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). Let me not get into the technical
details of these two dangerous effects, especially encountered by
mountaineers, if not properly acclimatized, which have caused so many
deaths to mountaineers. Our Advance Base camp was at an altitude
of 18,500feet. We saw for the first time the ridge of Mt.Thelu, from up
10th October to 14th
Two of our team members got high
altitude sickness and returned to the lower base camp after scalling
upto the Advance Base Camp at 18500 feet . Indu & Vijayant stayed at
the Base Camp while Hari, Subrat & Raid made another attempt
and occupied the sumit camp at 4.00 p.m. on the 10th .
The team decided to start early
next day i.e. on the 11th , so that they could make use of a clear
weather window available early in the morning. They were out and
on their way to the base of Mt.Thelu the next day (11/10/04) by around
5.00AM finding their way through the moraine and snow with the help of
torch and headlamps that we had carried. By around 6.00AM, as the first
light peeped through the clouds, they got a glimpse of the route ahead
as well as the path they had taken. The
route ahead would be through a huge snowfield. Here was the real
problem. The snow, which was initially hard and relatively easy to walk
on, got softer and softer as the day progressed. The heat from the sun
started melting the layer of soft, fresh snow making it tiresome and
dangerous to trek through.
Tiresome because each step that they took, their feet would go knee deep
into the snow and dangerous because they didn't know where there were
crevasses and where there were loose boulders. Some how they managed to
get through all these and after about two and a half hours of trekking
we were finally at the base of Mt.Thelu .
around them stood some of the most famous peaks of the Indian Himalayas,
Sudarshan Parbat (6507mts), Saife (6161mts) and lots of unnamed peaks.
They took a bit of a breather after the long trek and some time to
photograph all around. After about half an hour, they started their
climb towards the summit of Thelu. Jeez, it was one tough climb. They
were literally crawling all the way up, through absolutely loose sliding
slabs of stones and gravel with no support and nothing to hold on to.
Every four to five steps They took, they slided down 2 steps. And
with the air getting thinner and thinner high up, they were gasping for
breath every 2 steps that they took. Finally an hour and a half of
climbing (I mean crawling and scrambling), they reached the summit
shoulder. From here it would take them another 40 minutes to reach the
summit. They were already standing tall, at an altitude of
19700ft. The summit is at an altitude of 19800ft. On 11/10/2004 at 11.30AM,
Hari , Subrat & Raid alongwith
the 2 HAP's & Guide had summitted Mt.Thelu (19800ft) .
For a few minutes no one had realized what they had achieved
that day, that moment. They all were very tired and just wanted to rest
for sometime. Slow and steadily reality set into them. They had scaled a
peak that stood 6002mts (19800ft) above sea level. And the
jubilation started. They were hugging each other in joy and ecstasy and
congratulating one another on a fabulous team effort that had rewarded
them with such a success. Staring at the horizon and into the blue sky,
with the clouds below their feet, They almost felt at the top of the
world. There was the Sudarshan Parvat on to the left, Saife along its
ridge, Chirbas Parbat behind them, and the majestic and magnificent
Shivling, Meru Parbat, Thalay Sagar, the Jogin Group of mountains (Jogin
I, II and III) and many more unnamed peaks to our right all sticking out
of the clouds.
it is another long story how when they returned back to the base camp
the weather changed and it snowed upto 3 feet . It was a nightmare
to spend the rest of the days and how they managed to come to Bhojwasa
and then to Gangotri leaving their stuff behind . But in the end
as one says " All's well that Ends well ". The group returned
safely to Delhi on the 17th Morning from Uttarkashi .
to the group who successfully scalled Mt. Thelu . Special Cheers and
applauds to the lady of the Group Indu Anand who showed tremendous
courage , Endurance , stamina and determination to be with the group throughout
the expedition period , giving the team the moral support and strength
. Hats off to you Indu ....... Namnam's wife and Daddy's girl
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