Planning for Himalayas?

Ever I wonder myself sometimes how I reached 12,500ft, Kedarkantha Himalayan peak in Uttarakhand, experiencing snowfall in my life for the first time, without any extra efforts needed to trek the big risky mountain with my friends. Travelling from south India without knowing Hindi, we went all along, reached, trekked, survived and successfully came back and used to tell these stories to everyone whoever ask about this wonderful trip.

Have an idea? Take these tips and tricks with our fun-filled story.

Bit long journey

After 2015 Chennai flood, it was like a Winter break for us to recover from the monstrous flood. We (Aravind, Manoj, and Myself) went by train considering our budget and all these travel ticket bookings and membership and slot booking in YHAI (Youth Hostel Association of India) where everything was preplanned and perfect for our excursion. It almost took 48 hours for TamilNadu express to reach the National capital, meanwhile met two army persons in the train where one is the saviour and another one is the driver, amused us by sharing their experiences who are returning back to works after their leave and we reached Delhi early morning. Freezing with 6-degree Celsius, took Delhi Metro, the cheapest travel to roam around and reach places quickly, reached Sector 10 Rohini. We had a quick breakfast in McDonald’s and went inside Decathlon (largest sporting goods retailer) nearby to complete our checklist, Christmas celebrations were going on in the meantime.

Again taking Metro, we reached Delhi railway station and headed to Dehradun. We reached the same day night. It’s freezing more here even though we had the same temperature but it was a night. We met two more friends (Karthik & Akhlad), who already reached Dehradun directly from Pune and had our rooms ready earlier. Couldn’t recall the place we stayed but it was nearby the main bus stand. After our heavy dinner (Rotti with Grill chicken) beside the hotel, went for a night walk and had a cup of tea around 1am, made us comfortable with campfire built adjacent to that shop. While returning back to home, we were stopped by the local police and they used us to entertain them during their work hours, it was entertaining for us too.

To base camp

Next day morning, we came to contact with another set who were heading to the same place, Sankri (our base camp). Unfortunately, we couldn’t cope up with their timings and they left us. After some selfies we checked out, reaching local bus stand to enquire how to reach Sankri. It was a bit costly to take a Jeep so we went through Govt. bus.

Kedarkantha_Trek
(From left: Myself, Aravind, Karthik, Manoj & Akhlad)

With long 8hrs of travel including our lunch, singing loudly Tamil, Hindi & English songs sitting at last seat in Bus, clicking some pics wherever bus stops for a break and two more people joined us in the midway who were our batch for the same trek. It was quite a long bus journey and reached a place where the jeep is the only option to reach base camp.

Jeep ride is like the most adventurous I think every time because, those track inside the forest, the single 10feet way for both sides of vehicles to commute and those bends which put me to hold my breath till we reach. My crazy friends took a step further and toured at the top of the jeep and we reached base camp around 6pm, which was dark by that time, crossed 8000 feet already. Here is the place is shown below.

We failed to bring admit cards, alleging flood as the reason, we showed soft copies and completed our initial process and asked to finished our dinner with rotti’s and sabji before 7pm. Lost all our mobile networks at this point completely.

Why this Kolaveri?

It’s time to collect our things, get into tents and make ourself comfortable. We were called to the place after some time where every one of our batches gathered, for an introductory session. They asked people to perform something they would be good at, not to awe, some people started showing their talents and our chance came in between. We prepared for a little drama within minutes with help of other two guys and the context is, How well we managed to learn some basic Hindi words and we defined in fun manner, people liked it. Ending the drama with a song, Why this Kolaveri di? and our batchmates sang along with us well. Who doesn’t know that popular song by the way?

Warm Up

Next day, after a warmup call, we went to a place following our guide. Honestly, that moment made me down, lose consciousness for a short time and couldn’t even complete my warm-ups. I’m afraid of my health at that time, gave me a thought,

How am gonna make it to12500ft? This question will be answered below.

Back to normal after some rest, we had our breakfast after returning back to base camp. It’s time for shopping now and we got some gloves and scarf,  the day went with some plays with my batch mates. We all asked to get a full big body cover of Rs.20, which blows your mind when you come to know it’s purpose.

Day 1 Trekking

Leaving all the unnecessary things in the base camp, we started to trek only with the things needed to make ourself comfortable. We headed into the forest and took some good photographs. We had a lunch which was provided at the base camp in the middle and finally, everyone from our group managed to reach the camp called, Juda Talav. The thing that we find interesting during this trek where two big personable dogs, one at the front and other at the back, taking us safely to each camp. When we asked for the reason, they are used to protect you from Wolves, the coach replied. And further said, you can see sometimes these dogs run and bark at random places where they spot endangered animals. To remember our protectors, we took selfies with them and they looked gorgeous.

The following pic shows how the camp looks.

Kedarkantha_Day3

Adding to our fun part, we team of 5-6 members challenged ourselves for a bare body challenge. And we made it happened before reaching the Juda Talav camp. I could still get that moment, shouting all around and dressing back expeditiously.

Snow Fall

The best thing we are gifted in Juda Talav camp is the snow fall. Not everyone could see the snowfall over there, which occurs periodically. Some of the moments are captured perfectly in slow motion videos in my iPhone 6 and one video is added below.

After a hot soup and a dinner around 6pm, the day ended with a single candle light inside our tent, playing bluffs in cards and parodying our friends. Another best thing were no mobile networks and current will disturb you, such a peaceful surrounding one should definitely experience in their life.

Day 2 Trekking

We headed to another camp, after our normal breakfast of Chapathi and Sabji but this time, its bit more adventurous than previous one. Places were filled with ice, snow and were very slippery. Joining hands and helping each other, we could easily manage to trek this camp.

Frozen lake

We could spot a frozen lake in our way which gives us time to spend and again this is the first time for us, playing in the lake for a very long time.

Cell phone signal

After few yards, at some point, our guide instructed us to use your phone to update the status of us to our family members. We were amazed, how we could make calls and there were even no signals earlier. Later he said, only BSNL network works here. Only two of our batch mates have BSNL networked phone, and all the 40 above members made use of it.

We reached the camp Luhasu after some time. This place is astonishing and the below pic speaks the remaining.

Kedarkantha_Luhasu

Who don’t work on making a snow man, when you are fully surrounded with full of snow. Aren’t we exception to it? We built a snowman and took some pics with him.

Our camp leader here is Chandra Sharma who is graduated, is working here at free of cost only because of his passion. He inspired us with his challenging stories and made us proud of him. Such a passionate person, made us think deeply and delivered us, the true definition of it. He also showed us the point we going to reach tomorrow, inflated our excitement to the core.

After sharing few of our experiences with our friends, we went for a sleep and we were asked to get ready around 4am, to trek final phase, Kedarkantha Peak.

Day 3 Trekking – Kedarkantha Peak

We woke up around 3am and getting things done in hurry. It was like, are we going to make this? We started at 4am with this thought with a small torch in hand. We were moving slowly since the place looks very dark and we don’t want any abnormal things to happen.

Kedarkantha_Day4

That was the peak we are heading, said our coach. To our excitement, we conversed ourselves that it’s near and we can reach soon, but soon we thought it’s not easier in that – 15-degree Celsius.

Walking …

Walking …

Walking …

The peak is getting closer but still, we didn’t reach. It was hard to take selfies either. Neither couldn’t touch camera icon or press volume buttons to take photos with our gloves. Instead, we removed but couldn’t hold longer. Hands are freezing. The peak and the beautiful view is the only thing, made us move. Now, the path is a bit dangerous than previous one. If one is slipped, it affects everyone and we don’t know where it takes.

One more interesting thing to note here is, We had a couple in our batch and they both were loveable. They both were caring & helping each other, such an adorable peoples to meet. Only group of guys can enjoy a trip? No. Make yourself surrounded by positive peoples and one, you can sync with you. That would definitely be a memorable trip.

Finally, around 12 pm, after tough 8 hours of journey, we reached the peak. Wow, such an amazing view it was. There was a temple in the top. Clicked hundreds of pics in excitement. One of the pics goes below.

Kedarkantha_DP

It was breathtaking.

Mountains were beautiful. The peak was beautiful. No words to explain the dazzling mountains. Beautiful, that’s it. Once again we took the bare body challenge.

The group picture …

Kedarkantha_GroupPic

After some hours of refreshments, we started to trek down. Again, the special and adventurous moment for us. You remember about the body cover which I explained earlier, time to use it now.

Snow Skirting

Couldn’t get a better word to describe it. We covered ourself with the cover and our guide asked us to roll over in the snow. We started skirting and it was fun. We had challenges with our friends like, who goes first, who can do better by dashing through the snow. We didn’t stop even after the cover was torn.

Finally, we reached one of our camp, which was not the one we stayed back earlier. It was slippery, yet we managed to reach with our friend’s support.

Day 4  Trekking – Returning to Base Camp

Next day, after a long walk again, we reached our base camp. We were in a hurry mood to wind up so that we could spend some time in Delhi or Rishikesh. Certificate of completion will be issued only on day 5 (last day) but we explained our situation and get our certificates done by that time and winded up.

Q: How am gonna make it to12500ft?

A: Yes, this is how I made it.

Some days in National Capital

We reached Dehradun after a long travel from base camp, almost 12 hours. We got a bus immediately after our dinner and headed to Delhi. We got a cheap room and dropped our luggage. The first place we visited was,

Jama Masjid, Delhi.

Kedarkantha_JamaMasjid

The religious place to visit. After some religious sentiments, we had briyani and went shopping. We visited India Gate, walked along those roads and concluded our day.

Next day, TN Express again put us (Aravind & Myself) in homes after long 2 days journey where other 3 of our friends took flight and returned to their natives.


Tips & Helpful links before you go …

YHAI – Site to book your slots

http://www.yhaindia.org/

To dress up well for the trek?

https://www.decathlon.in/

Takeaways

  1. Thermals (the type of clothes) which holds heat, generated from your body, keeping you warm throughout the trek.
  2. Get a quality jacket.
  3. A rucksack is the best one to trek along with your things.
  4. Don’t get plastic water bottles as it would freeze water at minus temperatures.
  5. Take gloves and good quality trekking shoes.

Most importantly, get a fitness certificate with the doctor before you proceed.

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