Date: 21st Oct - 23rd Oct 2006
Trek & Climb to Dhodap & Ikhara
Since from a long I wanted to Trek to Dhodap. Fortunately I got this opportunity through our infamous Diwali Trek which was on the verge of cancellation due to last moment cancellation of few trustworthy members. Fortunately our Trek Leader Ajay & one more trek member Abhijeet stand still to make it any how. We merged our Trekking team into the Climbing Team since our Climb leader Kaivalya & fellow member climber agreed upon climbing in the same area with the grade of easy. Dhodap was the ideal spot to do Trek and climb. Our other climbing team member were Prashant & Rajesh who took the driving responsibility of my new car first time out of Mumbai. It was dual purpose in my mind, one is to find the mileage findings & second thing is comfort. Our other climber was Hemant the member of Fooki Regiment.
Kiran Bhramanti's field in charge had taken some extra pain to deliver some of the kitchen accessories on time.
We left mumbai in the night of 20th Oct. Reached Hatti Village via Nashik-Vani road the next day in the morning at around 6:00am. We left Hatti village after the sorting of our equipment, ration & kitchen at 8:00am. We took 2 major halt on the way to reach the Base Cave/Temple of the Dhodap. We crossed Sonar Wadi housing 2 families and 2 temples. This wadi is actually in side the fort of Dhodap. As per the construction of the fort main gate looks like this must be a main fort in this area commanding Satmaal range to the south and Ravlya-Javlya, Markandya, Ahiwant, Achala etc fort in the north. The mountain range looks beautiful from this cave-temple. Dhodap has unique twin wall like structure which remind most of us about Telbaila. Though these walls are much bigger in size, they are on the west side. Actually it is a single wall separated due to might be rock fall in the center. to the east prominent Ikhara pinnacle one can see as well further continuing the range one can see Kanchana fort/pinnacle. Rajdher/Koldher lies further ahead on eastern side of Kanchana.
We had almost a circular survey around the fort base. After initial observation we decided our traditional climbing route and prepared to start the climb. It was 1:30pm. I was the lead climber this time and reached the fist pitch of ht. 75ft and the second one of 125ft. It took total 2 and half hrs. Since the further climb was easy but time consuming we decided to continue the route next day. We had good food prepared by Kaivalya and Ajay. It was Abhijeets first such experience as an active support member. His enthusiastic relevant queries(climbing) made us think sometime and respond like entertaining new bees among the team.
The cool potable water made life easy since it was quite handy for all purpose. We closed our day by 11pm
Next day after morning tea and breakfast we started our climb
at 9:30am ascending till last patch. By the time all 5 climbers reached the last patch Kaivalya has done further ascent easy by reaching the last patch of summit. It was long scree/grass filled walk of 240ft. We had a small tree for runner and at the base of last patch he fixed a piton for anchoring. Further I continued the last patch it was bit tricky but not difficult since the top portion was filled with scree. While I was tackling the patch saw two village boys approaching us without any protection and made our new member bit embarrassed since they didn't expect the route was so easy. Their we found the route from 1st pitch to 2nd pitch was kind of rock cut step which I missed and climbed bit difficult patch to reach the same 2nd pitch. Any way I summated at 12 noon. Our day of surprise didn't stopped here since while searching for the anchor on top in the grass found those two village boys approaching towards me. It looks like their was another easy route to reach on top. Any way I celebrated my first lead of this climbing season by wishing them Happy Diwali since it was 1st day of Diwali. Meanwhile the rest of the team climbed one by one to the summit. We all celebrated 23rd climb of Bhramanti by our traditional summit sweet 'Dates'. Meanwhile Kaivalya was on his rope management duty since it was one of the longest rope fixture for Bhramanti almost 500ft one way. We left a Peg on top of summit since there was nothing to anchor.
While returning our surprise day never stopped, since further surprise lay ed on the way. Another group had already started climbing from the same route which we climbed. So it was like traffic jam situation so we waited for their climbers to reach till the second patch. It was first ever such incident in the history of Bhramanti had happened. We descended down using the same rope fixed by the group to save our further timing since we were supposed to reach our next climbing destination the same evening. We left the cave after windup by 5:45pm and started our journey to reach Ikhara ashram from where we planned to attempt Ikhara pinnacle the next day. But our misfortune did gave us another surprise that we missed the route and caught in the dense jungle. After few struggle to find the route we decided to return back to Sonar Wadi to spend the night. We reached the one of the temple and had experienced another surprise of a Mauni baba, a sadhu who was has taken maun vrat(Not to speak to anybody). Our the then coordinator Kaivalya could able to manage to coordinate the Sadhu for night stay but it looks like tough going.So add on to our surprise he opened his mouth (braking his maun vrat) to explain his rules of staying in the area since he alone is maintaining the place. On top of that he explained about his vrat to us. Anyway overall it was good experience. Our Trek Leader made good dinner for all of us with the help of all team members that included getting dry wood from the jungle and making the new chullha outside the ashram/temple though Sadhu has plenty of dry wood but for his use only. After dinner we slept in his cozy hut passage.
Next day 23rd Oct we started early from this place and reached another temple/ashram of Ikhara where we had our breakfast and planned to move further for the climb. Again continuing our Diwali gift of surprise, we found this sadhu baba was too much. He was offering us whatever he has as well what we found is he travel from the village Kolwan to this ashram on a bike. It's a steep scree filled track not a road. Anyway we had difficulty in reaching the base of the Ikhara pinnacle. We had climbed a small rock patch. By the time we saw the pinnacle clearly it was 12:00noon and due to our time constrain we decided to return back from the place though the climb was of easy grade. We reached the ashram and had lunch then by 4:00pm started the return journey. WE reached hatti by 6:00pm We then left the place by 7:00pm and reached mumbai by 3:00am of 24th oct.
It was a overall good experience
full of surprise. Still I recommend our proposed Diwali trek of this year to all interested trekkers, kind of good & unique experience of this range of mountains.
Written By: -- Rajan Rikame
Photo Link: Click Here from Abhijeet Nagre