It all began on 11th may 2013, much awaited day had finally come. I was not alone, I had 6 more companions that would stay with me for next 15 days; be with me through ups and downs of this breathtaking journey of the grand Himalaya. Trip to base camp took 3 days. Starting from Mumbai to Delhi by train and then Delhi-Bhuntur(near Kullu) by volvo bus, after reaching Bhuntur by 11 in morning we asked how far is Kasol, the local villager said 30km, so we thought we should reach base camp in 1 hour by local bus, but actually it took us 2.5 hr on that horrible route which itself was adventure. We reached base camp at around 2 O’clock in afternoon on 14th May(First day of trek).
[Nag Tibba trek in Uttarakhand: A trekker’s delight]
Base camp was located at Kasol village, a beautiful small village based on bank of Parvati river, as we are getting on higher altitude and close to the Mighty Himalaya we were feeling pressure difference in our ear and coldness in air. After Reaching base camp we registered ourselves and had our delicious lunch, we then assigned tents to stay where we have to stay for next 2 days for basic training and acclimatization, rest of that day was nothing much just relaxed in evening and asked to gather tomorrow morning at 6 AM for training and exercise in such a cold environment waking up at 5 AM looks like punishment but feels awesome !
Base Camp Location : Kasol
Our group got name assigned as SP-14(Sar Pass / Date of Registration 14 May) – there were in all 39 members in our group from all over India including 7 ladies and 32 gents.
Next day 15th May- we woke up with typcial sound “BED TEAAA….. CHALO UTHO BED TEAAA AAYA”(‘Wake up…Its Time for Bed tea’). In that cold weather(6-8 Degrees temperature), we had to become ready by 6 am else punishment was 3 rounds of entire base camp, we almost all got ready by 5:55 but one member, he then asked to have 3 rounds of camp and asked to join us for jogging to near by village. there we had heavy exercise and some trekking tips were given by field director. As we were not used to that type of exercise we were hell tired and exhausted. we returned to base camp and had our breakfast and asked to get ready for acclimatization walk on near by hill(to get used to that height and test yourself for long trek). There we had our introduction and Group Leader, Co-Group leader, Cultural Leader, and Environmental leader were chosen by one of their instructor based on our introduction. After that rest of day was spared for shopping from near by village.
Next day same routine but instead of acclimatization walk we went to near by jungle for Rock Climbing and Rappling training which was amazing experience we never thought we can do rock climbing like this following that we had medical checkup. on every evening on those 3 days we have camp fire(without actual fire ! – burning wood is not allowed in camp anywhere).there one of group every day used to perform some cultural activity for half to 1 Hour and general instructions for groups.
Next day (Day 4-16 May – actual long trek was started) we asked to pack non-required luggage and asked to keep it in store room and take only what is required for almost 7 days trek (in large sack). we left our base camp(6000 ft) round about 8 in morning with one sack on back and lots of excitement and courage inside heart. that day we crossed 2 valleys with rest points at regular intervals (rest is quite important as you travel to height body needs to acclimatize pressure and climate at that height) and lunch break in midway for 1 hour and reached next camp (GalgiThach) at height 7400 ft height.
I will explain our schedule for 7 days in short- after reaching base camp by around 4 PM we were welcomed by welcome drink(flavored juice) then we used to settled in one of tents in 10 min as we need to get ready for counting within 10 min(Very strict – no excuses), they simply dont allow you to sit free and do nothing they always ask to do something that keeps heat in your body and keeps you warm. after counting we used to have some snacks. after that we used to play some games for hardly 1 hour then they used to provide sleeping bags and 2 blankets for sleeping inside tents, we have to collect that individually and return the same in morning before leaving for next camp. Then we used to have dinner at 7 PM and then Bornvita at 8 PM and then we used to sleep by 8:30-9:00 as there was no electricity, as usual we have to wakeup 5:30 in the morning get ready for coming day trek , have breakfast , submit our sleeping bags, collect pack lunch, clean our tents properly for next group that will arrive here in evening and then we used to left for next camp by 8-9 AM.
Day 5 – We left from galgithatch and started a very steep climb which was too much for us and very difficult – one of difficult patch in trek then had lunch after climbing and then reach next camp (KhoraThatch at height 9800 ft) the camp site was little bit dull than first as it was inside deep forest.
Day 6 – this was shortest day in whole trek we had to cover very small distance , so that day we had lots of photo sessions and more rest points than actual trek, we didn’t find any snowfall or glaciers yet and hoping to find one today but we ended that day with disappointment with no snow on Day 6 as well , we reached zirmi located at 11000 ft by 4 PM.
Day 7 – 2nd toughest day of trek (trek from zirmi to tila lotni), that was indeed very long trek by distance as well we had to cover much height, luckily we found hell of snow after lunch and it was very good at first finding the snow till we found out its very hard to walk in snow than on land, indeed walking on snow requires much more power. we had some fun during rest point in snow and after very hard day in trek we reached tila lotni, highest camp of trek located at 12500 ft height our tents itself were surrounded by snow and temperature was like 1 degree , hell cold and camp location was open from all sides.
Day 8 – Toughest day of trek we used to wake-up at 3:30 and get ready by 4:30 as we have to cover more distance before snow gets hard we covered height and reached expected height by 7 AM that feeling was like king of the world feeling (yet we hadn’t crossed peak point of trek), we then started our journey to much awaited point of trek SARPASS located at 13800 feet, we had our lunch midway in snow sitting on snow and having lunch was very great experience ! we reach peak point of sarpasss at around 12 noon after having very very very very long walks over snow. but as we reached top – it was best feeling in world we were surrounded by snow peaks from all the side and we were like on top of it !! we had flag hosting there followed by national anthem and then downside trek started from that point, we had almost 1 to 1.5 km slide from peak point its like SLIDE of lifetime, no one can get this experience even in Disney world or by paying lacs of Rs, thats effort of 3 days trek, we reach next camp(biskeri thatch at 11000 ft) by 5 PM (almost 12 hr of trek that day), the site location was beautiful and we get rid of snow finally , very hard to walk in snow and now we were walking on land !
Day 9 – we then started our trek to bhandak thatch(8000 ft) known as mini swiss camp site of trek – the location was like heaven , camp site was located in grass terrine surrounded by pine trees from one side and snow peaks from other side, very good camp site location, we had very good time playing there !
Day 10 – this was last day in our trek, they didn’t provide us guide on last day and asked to find way on our own with help of local villagers and arrows marked in path at certain distance , we lost our way in middle but somehow we found it and reached village by 12 noon, bus from that village dropped us to manikarn (village near our base camp) we had bath there almost after 8 days, had very good feeling after that, then we by catching another group we group of 39 peaople fit and fine reached base camp at kasol again. We had certificate distribution on same day during campfire in evening and we left our camp next day ! that was indeed very good experience with trekkers from different regions of india it was not just group it was FAMILY of 39 for those 10 days, all were very helpful, cheering and full with energy, more than physical fitness mental fitness is more important to complete this trek which was possible because of such a wonderful group. (see Video below)