Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Days 6 & 7: Rest day and summit climb

At the base camp, the effect of the high altitude was noticeable. Any quick actions, even small ones such as getting out of the tent or entering the sleeping back made me gasp for breath. The rest day was welcome. Gave us time for much needed acclimatization.

The rest day began with a nice breakfast of aloo parathas - undoubtedly the best breakfast of the trek! All of us devoured the parathas in no time but credit to the support staff that they continued to make parathas till all of us were fully stuffed!

Most of the day was spent lying around in the tent, trying to get some sleep. In the evening we had a briefing on the use of gaiters and crampons. We went to bed early. By 11 pm all of us were awake again. Dressed up and ready. A quick porridge snack and we were ready to go.

By 1 am we were on the way. The climb began with a steep ascent on the mountain face across the base camp. I was initially climbing with the leading group. I was finding it difficult to keep pace with them. So I took a break and continued climbing with the middle pack... their pace suited me better. For quite a while we were walking along a mountain face with a valley to our right, most of the time we were walking on snow.  After many such snow crossings we came to the glacier and started a very steep climb. Mid-way up we stopped to wear the crampons. By now I was feeling out of breath after every few steps. My body was giving up but my mind was dragging it along. After a 5 minute break at the crampon point I restarted the climb. Now I was having to take a 10 breath break after every 20-30 steps. The darkness gave way to daylight. I laboured along to the ridge leading to the summit. As I reached there I was completely exhausted. Every single step seemed to be a great effort. The exhaustion alongwith the icy breeze at the ridge resulted in a piercing headache. I decided to abort my bid to the summit.

With a heavy heart I started climbing down. And this was no cakewalk too... Climbing down on the snow glacier was very difficult. One needs to dig in his heels to prevent slipping down. Every step required a lot of strength. Somehow I trudged along one step at a time. It took me around 5-6 hours to reach back the base camp. All along I was wondering at how much distance we had managed to climb under the cover of the darkness of the night. Somehow I reached the camp and lay down to rest. Later on I came to know 8 trekkers from our group of 21 managed to reach the summit. Proud of them!

I was so frustrated and disappointed with myself at having to turn back, that I did not even take out my camera to capture the amazing views. Here are some snaps clicked by Amogh



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