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Ramjak (6318m) Expedition 2003
Once you are in the Nature you enjoy your true feelings. One can see your originality.

Rajan's Shirshshasan at 13000ftMumbai-Darcha
: 27th July 2003 we left Bandra Terminus (Mumbai) By Paschim Express along with the Trekking Team of 10. The Expedition member were total 8 in Numbers out of which one member were supposed to join us from Ahmedabad & 2 Trek members at Manali, were Germans by origin. We reached next day at Ambala & from there onward we traveled by a private 24 sitters Bus till Darcha via a complete day halt at Manali/solang Nala. Few members were tourist stayed at Manali itself. We spent a complete Day of (29th July) resting & purchasing at Manali. On 30th July left Manali by the same bus to Darcha via Rohtang Pass. Rohtang pass is popular tourist place where Vyas Rishi used to stay as per our mythology. I had traveled first time on this route of Manali-Leh. It was unique experience, one can identify the difference between Gadhawal & this area easily due to terrain. It was dry. All mountains looks like are with loose rocks. But there were eye catching waterfalls on the way with dry Mica sand. We reached Darcha by evening 4:00pm. One can see the Mulkilla range of mountains from Darcha especially a peak M-5 towards river end.

Darcha-Chuminakpo
: We spent 2 days at Darcha for acclimatization; one day a foot loosing walk till Chika/Rarik village which is on the way to our Base camp, one hr. from Darcha and Next day we had little height gain in the Darcha village high point where we had variety of field games along with the member which seems to be a very good acclimatization process. As we returned back our leader Raga (Rajesh Gadgil) was waiting at our hotel. He was late due to some business work.
Chuminakpo-Shingola 2nd Aug 2003 first day of trek to intermediate Base camp 1 at Palamo, which is 3 & half hr. trek via Chika Rarik. We were carrying 22 mules to carry our extra luggage. On the way most of the plateau we found locals were farming green peas (Mataar). Also the PWD were in process of constructing a road till Palamo from Chika. One route goes to Leh from this place. On the way we had scintillating view of a river Chandra passing through a slippery gauge of rocks bridged by a wooden pool.

Next day Palamo to Zankar sumdo trek was also a different kind of experience crossing many small nalah's on the way. It's 3 & half hr. trek with an average speed. At this place a two sub rivers of Chandra jointly flows down. Later river Chandra meets Bhaga at Thandi where 1995 expedition of Zanskar exploration of Sahyagiri had final rituals of our beloved friend Sheru (Dinesh Shertate). On the left side (North) their lies a Bagarari Glacier & on the right (East) Shingola Valley. There are so many peaks in this ChandraBhaga region popularly known as CB.

The next Day (4th Aug) we entered the Shingola Valley crossing two bridges one wooden bridge & then the bigger concrete bridge to climb the first major ascent of the trek to the Base camp Chuminakpo. It was one of the tiring trek for the trek members specially since it's gaining height & so many up's & down's along with small & big nallah on the way. I was told by the Raga in the past that the peak can be seen clearly only from the Base Camp. I was eager to see the peak since I missed the slide show organised for the expedition group. The rain welcomed us as soon I reached at BC. We hurried to set our BC tent in the rain. We couldn't see the peak till the day end.


Base Camp 4600m

5th Aug too was a rainy day till first half, as per our trek schedule we were supposed to carry the trek team till Shingola but due to rain the program postponed for the next day. Though part of the trek team attended some height gain /acclimatization walk further towards Shingola while others including Expedition members went towards ABC. We dumped our technical equipment load till max high point on the way to ABC. It was first time I saw our target to summit clearly. We all thanked to the weather God. Especially the trekking members were short of word. One of the member Dhananjay were so fascinated that he expressed to see the snow the same time but it was his illiteracy (/emotional) thought which results him to think that he should get trained to do this if possible to go to such places, which he accepted & gathered the info from the sr. members of the expedition. The very next day we almost all except few expedition members left for Shingola at 8:00am, along with the Trekking team. We reached by 12:30 on the pass (5090m). A member "Sulabha Gadgil" age 50 almost cried when she reached near the pass since she couldn't believe that she made it. It shows the feather of success in their cap for this trek. All members returned back safely to BC on the same day. On 6th Aug. The trek team returned back along with 5 mules to Zankar Sumdo and then further to Darcha via Palamo. We all 8 expedition member were free to move further towards our goal henceforth. Also we were supposed to prepare our own food by all members and the 2 Chef Anil Joshi & Raga.

The Lama-yuru Trek is one the most popular trek is on the same route from Darcha via Shigola-Padum then further to Leh. But we saw only a single group of Bangali Dada's out of so many lots of Foreigners. I was wondering the same when most of the Foreigners used to pip our BC thinking that it's kind of Hotel asking for Biscuits/Tea/Coffee. Though due to this we get to know some interesting stories from their respective countries. Some used to show interest in our Expedition some were crying out of pain, some used to enjoy the Trek with more adventure like by mountain biking etc. Sometime I used to feel our BC was like a First Aid Tent where we served one Israeli couple, few Italian & not to forget our buttermilk wala gaddhi too.

Since the Gaddhi was alone he used to come & chat with us expressing his travel along with 400 goats (Bhedu)! Our Cinematographer Rahul was too impressed on him that once he recorded his interview in his Handicam. The gaddhi used to enjoy our youthful company. Once he called us to have test of his Hukka prepared by using the waste material thrown by the previous expeditions. One of the member Santosh visited an evening. He didn't turned up for next 3 Hrs. Latter we got to know that he had a heavy dinner prepared by the Gaddhi for him also on top he offered a 5 Lt. can filled with butter milk prepared from the goats milk.
 

Chuminakpo-Eagle Nest
: Here onwards the weather god started playing with the hide & seek game with us unfortunately. Whenever we used to get the clear weather we used to do load ferry to set the higher camp at 5110m (ABC). Once we set the ABC & the very next day 3 members explored the route to the Ramjak Col by fixing almost 1500 ft perlon rope to gain 400m heights from ABC. Our ABC one can call it as Camp-I too, was set on the glacier. It took 2 Days to complete the task. I was in the next climbing team of 3 members where one of the member Makarand had a HAS (High Altitude Seekness) problem due to which he left the expedition on the day when we were supposed to shift to ABC. Also it was planned by Raga the first team will decent to BC for rest. So we 2 Santosh & myself had a L.F.(Load Ferry) in the clear day to ABC & stayed there. We had L.F. the next day from ABC to the base of the col where previous team had fixed a rope till the high point of the col. But due to bad weather we could not able to continue to stay at ABC. The same day evening we returned back to BC since it was heavy raining. Latter our 2 members team reschedule to 3 once again when Rahul Makarand's escort return back to BC. Next time a team of 3 (Santosh, Pumpya & me) went for a L. F. to dump our technical equipment to col & to help further ascent. Pampya fixed 120 ft Todi rope to overcome the first hump from the col. This night we saw a unique feature in the sky, a very bright light towards east. We thought somewhere some group might be ascending in the dark night. nobody could able to find confidently what it is. After this day it was a nightmare for us due to heavy rain. We had descent down to BC to avoid any further problem. Later while discussing with Raga I got to knew that it might be some star in the sky. But I never have seen such bright stars till my 33 yrs. of span So still doubt! Finally when I came back to Mumbai I got a e-mail from one of my well wisher that it was mars who was shining so bright & near to the earth (looks bigger in size). This feature of mars can be seen once again in the year 2287. So we were lucky to get the glance of it.

Called Off: Latter after spending 2-3 days Raga had meeting with all of us & we decided to call off further ascent to Ramjak. We safely recovered almost all of our equipment, which was fixed before, & on 27th Aug we returned back to Zankar Sumdo using 13 mules & then to Darcha on 28th Aug 2003. One of our team member Raju had organised all mules as well a Tempo to travel back till Ambala. 

Back To Mumbai: By Tempo we traveled back to Manali/solang Nala had some rest & left in the night by 11:00pm to Ambala on 28th Aug. It was heavy rain on the way till Ambala. From Ambala we traveled back to Mumbai by Paschim Express. We reached Mumbai one hr. late, sorted all of our equipment at Raga's place & dispersed to respective places. As soon we were returning we heard so many news happening behind us like RDX found at New Delhi St., Bus misshape at Chandhigadh, Cloud burst at Solang Nala killing 100 & so many bad news. While returning from Darcha we had a nice look of the Rainbow with broad band of colours but it was just a small patch reminding us to come back next time to have a complete look.
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