Himalayan Expedition Spiti 2006 organised by Sahyagiri Lead by Rajesh Gadgil. Other members of the expedition Kaivalya Varma & Rajan Rikame assisted by Cook Harnam & Assistant Virsingh. Other support by Khemraj & Ludar of Solang.
Day1: (16 th July 06)
Left home with my new Tavera to Our packed luggage destination i.e. at our Expedition leaders house. Our active member Prashant drove the car to Bandra Terminus.
We were carrying 152Kg of other accessories including equipment, ration etc luggage. Few well-wishers were there to help us in transportation and shifting of the luggage. Myself & Kaivalya Varma (KV) traveled by Paschim with fully loaded individual sacks. Our Leader Rajesh Gadgil (RG) too was with us for the necessary arrangement specially luggage. It was indeed a great day to start with this is what I felt on that day.
At Ambala another well wisher Mr. Sanjay Nagar welcomed both of us. We reached Ambala @ 2:30pm. He helped us in taking out the luggage from the luggage bogy & shift out of the railway station. It was very hot day. Our next arrangement was already in place i.e. a quails was waiting for us. We left Ambala @ 3:20pm and headed to solang Nala/Manali via Chandhigadh. It took 9 and half hr. to reach the destination. It was raining when we reached the hotel ICELAND.
IT was resting time till 1:00pm after lunch we went out for remaining ration purchase. Our expedition cook & helper joined us in the afternoon. KV & myself visited boldering site, which is behind Institute campus in the evening. It was good experience to had some hands on boulders, it reminded me my first ever experience in the area 10 yrs back. Rajesh reached the hotel late night when we were in deep sleep. He joined us late since he had some urgent office work to complete since then after he will not be available for next 25 days.
We did remaining purchase and had fine haircut, All 3 of us must have spent 30 minutes in discussing how the feeling and past experiences about the haircut in the mountain. We planned our next day journey to Kaza and arranged the vehicle for us.
We started in at 8:30am with the team of five including cook Harnam and his assistant Virsingh. Ludar decided to come along with us to drive the Mahindra Camper utility vehicle. We traveled through Rohtang Pass and then further via Chattru, Batal. We crossed Kunzum la Pass, which is at 4500mt. The road conditions here was very panicking and add-on to this 4 of us occupied 3 seats in a packed manner. We got to know from some climbers from Delhi about Chattru that it’s 4 th largest rock climbing site in the world with firm rock. We saw bunch of Gora’s including the Delhiites. The Gora’s were onsite while Indians were enjoying their drinks in the Dhaba where we had our lunch. We saw many climbing opportunities on the way, where only Rajesh could able to guess the names. We were just the listener and point the fingers to all mountains to find what’s the name. Rajesh at particular point used to reply we should have handy map, which already we carried, but in the packed sack. IT was good experience traveling this route a kind of exploration tour.
We reached Kaza at 4:00pm and identified the hotel for night stay. I had temperature by then and before worsening I had 1 combiflame tablet.
We started at 6:00am without Rajesh since he had to stay back for some formalities like reporting to District administration for submission of our expedition plan.
We carried the same vehicle further till Mikkim. It took 1 & half hr. to reach Mikkim. We explored the village for a place for 2 days stay in Mikkim. We got a nice village house having separate room where we three can squeeze in. Actually we never thought if such neat & clean room at the height of 11500ft. We setup our kitchen in the passage of the house. In the evening went to the nearby mountain for acclimatization walk we reached till 12500ft. & return back happily. We saw Rantangla Dhru from this place but we did not know the name till Rajesh has arrived in the evening by the 4:00pm bus, which takes 2 hrs to reach Mikkim. The bus takes a small out of route path to drop the people from Guling Monastery area. Guling Monastery is 2000 yr old and its one of the historic place to visit. Rajesh was happier than both of us due the place we selected for our 2-night stay.
We visited Sagnam village where the road further goes to Mood village. Mood is a place where Parvati Valley area is accessible. Many firangi generally visit this area, which is also famous for drugs. From Sagnam we rambled to another near by mountain for acclimatization and reached 12800ft of ht. We could able to see our next day trek from this place towards village Kha.
We were supposed to start our trek early morning but due to rain we were forced to wait for some time. And luckily it stopped for the day. We started our journey by 10:00am with 7 mules for our luggage. We reached Thango, which is at 12500ft height. This village has only 2 families don’t know how they stay there without any other human being. Anyway it took 5 hrs to reach the place from Mikkim via Kha. Kha is 5km away from Mikkim & the there is a road under construction stage. We found a French family at this place for exploration. It was nice experience to chat with this people since both have similar interest. They were husband wife & their 2 daughters.
We left early after the breakfast for our next destination that was Chom. The francisy family already left keeping in mind about their group speed. On the way we skipped one campsite where we meet the francisy family. They also joined us further. We camped near the lovely small lake from where we can see the Khang shilling in the Middle of the valley on the south east end. It was 4 hr trek. Height if this place was 13200ft so plenty of free time to spend. Our friend KV was really interested in the family and motivating the Father who is Doctor by Prof. in Paris, to loose his arms on the bolder with him. The family also was charged to see us climbing and we all spent some good time in the mountain.
I don’t know what was the KV’s intention but he was forcing the Doctor to revisit India specially Mumbai and that too in Borivali where he stays. But he was explaining the Doctor to visit for climbing. One of his daughters expressed her willingness to join our expedition. KV was bubbling with a joy but our Leader Rajesh hammered an ice axe on the ICE wall to break Kv’s heart in 2 peaces by saying foreigners are not allowed this way. They had some foodstuff from us since next day onwards our routes were different as suggested by Rajesh they decided to visit Kangla Tarbo base to the left of our route while we were supposed to go straight towards the Khang Shiling valley.
This valley is called Khamengar valley.
Just after 30 min of walk we stopped & had to spend some time to rethink our day planning about how to reach the base camp. It was a big Nalah and no way to cross without any protection since it was heavily flooded with water from Kangla Tarbo side. We waited for our mules to arrive and then to trace out any other chances of crossing it. Since very few people visit the area they also unaware of it. So we anyhow managed to cross at one point and then fixed a rope to cross our luggage on the other side. It took 3 hrs to complete the entire process. Our mules had already left the place to return back for return journey. Due to this we had to hold our move to base camp and put up another intermediate base camp 1 hrs ahead from the Nalah. We had another round of load ferry from Nalah to this site for our luggage after lunch. Height of the place is 13600ft.
Including our mules porter we shifted our remaining luggage from the Nalah to this camp in the morning. Then at 10:15am we went further to see the probable Base Camp Site. In next 1 hr. we reached meeting point of 3 big nalah coming from 3 different directions. Found a small man made temple like structure which is as per Rajesh our Himalayan Club Team Mate Divyesh and Vinita must had built in their last year maiden attempt to Khang Shiling along with Sripad Sapkal. We decided to move next day at this place & returned to our Intermediate Base camp.
Sorted our Ration for return journey and made a pack along with unwanted stuff at this site. We did 2 load ferries each one of us along with Cook & his assistant to proposed BC. After establishing the BC we had a quick brunch. Our Cook & his Asst made one more load ferry to finish the remaining loads to BC. We had muddy water on that day since no way of water source nearby. Also tried to explore the crossing point. But no luck! Meanwhile I was appointed to coordinate with the “Bakriwala” to help us to fix the rope on the other side and help us to cross or any other probable way to cross the 30 ft wide Nalah. It was very difficult to communicate the Bakriwala since they were on the other side of the heavily flooded flowing Khamengar River. Still I tried my best and hopefully succeed in communication just using hand & finger signals. I reminded the game of “Dump Charads” and was on gas till the next day since thinking of, if “Bakriwala” didn’t turn up next day then what?
All of us woke up early and in the process of our morning routines and suddenly found typical Bakriwala whistling sound reaching in our direction. We all gather together to find the Bakriwala in the crowd of all goats; it took sometime to trace his camouflaged outfit in to the terrain. Finally at around 7:00am he reached the other side of the Nalah and we were bit relaxed. We fixed the rope with his help. Then Rajesh traversed the heavily flooded coldest Nalah. He gathered information about the route to come to the other side by a 1 hr walk to the snout of the Nalah, which is towards Base of Kangla Tarbo backside. The Bakriwala used the rope to come to our camp had Break fast and went down. We thought he is going back to Bakriwals Camp. Rajesh went all the way to snout and came back to the camp just to find about the route. It took 2 hrs for him to cross. Meanwhile I went down towards our previous IBC, near the Bakriwala’s site, which was on the true left of the river. And then played “Dump Charads” game once again but this time to get him along with his mules for further load ferry. He has 3 mules. It was decided that he should be reaching next day 7:00pm to carry our luggage further camp site.
Bakriwala was on time with 5 donkeys and we asked him to wait there for next 2 hrs till the time we (RG & myself) cross over the glacier to reach other side where we fixed the rope also where the Bakriwala were waiting for us. We literally climbed the Glacier & return the same way parallel to other side of the route from where we came.
We then transferred our entire luggage using the tyroline traverse method and the rest of the team traversed the same way like we both did. Meanwhile we had our Breakfast and carried some weight with us and also used 3/5 mules to upload the transferred weight to our new Base Camp. The 2 mules were too young to carry the load. It was 20 min away from the site. We then fixed the campsite for tentage etc and closed the day activity. The Bakriwala also spent the day with us since due to high water level he can’t cross to reach his campsite.
My self and Rajesh decided to visit the probable ABC and we left BC at 7:10am. In next 2 hrs we reached at 15500ft ht. We saw a mountain, which looks, like our final destination. But was bit daisy about the truth add-on to this it looks far away might be another daylong trek to the Camp 1. We took photographs of the peak and returned back happily to BC. Meanwhile in case the Bakriwala reached on time to the BC then KV was supposed to carry the sorted luggage like equipment and High Attitude ration using the mules. But unfortunately it didn’t happen since Bakriwala couldn’t able to reach us on time due to rain. This was the first day where we used our Walkie-Talkie set for the communication with KV for further arrangement.
RG had suggested alternate plan to nearby mountain or Kangla Tarbo. KV also supported him for Kangla Tarbo. But finally we decided to attempt as per current plan and if not possible then attempt the nearby high mountain. It was told by Rajesh that it also must be unclimbed. So here onward our bad luck due to early morning heavy rain and intermittent rain in daytime. Here onward we spent 5 days simply waiting for the clear weather. Finally on 5 th day at BC we decided to climb the nearby high mountain and return the next day but that day too gone in vain due to morning rain. So we decided to return back on 6 th day i.e. 5 th Aug for return journey. But then my adventure mind never say die habit popped up with another idea of attempting the same nearby mountain the next day and return to the then base on the same day while our Cook & his assistant will do the transfer of the campsite using Bakriwala’s help on the other side of river. All agreed, then we had a load ferry to transfer the load near nalah and end the day peacefully with great enthusiasm.
6 th Aug 06 we woke up at 5:30am and after breakfast left the BC at 6:30am for the ascent. This time I was in lead role and then followed the proposed route. We did little modification in the route that was instead of ridge approach we followed the gully till high point and then traversed to right of the ascent direction. We all reached at around 12:15pm. It was kind of different experience as compared with my previous expedition. We got to see snow at 17500ft and above. Finally we all reached the high point at 18000ft as per our altimeter watch. We had all round photography with our digicam also our photos with Indian flag in hand. It was indeed a great experience especially with Indian flag. I generally carry this flag with me whenever I go out for such exploration. We didn’t find any trace of any previous attempt for our record. We had a small traditional puja to mark the celebration. We return the new IBC at 6:15pm. It was a long day but it doesn’t matter since we did something which many people unaware about. We had nice sleep in the night.
Had a load ferry to the first Nalah, which we found difficult to cross while 3 rd day of our actual trek. Then rest of the day we spent for photography and resting.
We left the IBC for further return journey using Bakriwala’s mule since he also was supposed to go to Sagnam village to buy Salt for his goats. It was all together great sense of communication in terms of load carrying. As soon we reached the Nalah we found our Mikkim people with 7 mules also in place near Nalah to welcome us. Add on to this we found the nalah was shrunken to a hopping distance. At this point we hurriedly transferred our entire luggage and moved further the proposed halt at Thango. But due to entire community moral we all decided to move to Mikkim on the same day. And finally we reached Mikkim at 4:15pm. This was also a long day since we trekked for more than 10 hrs.
We had round normal Tea, Lemon Tea & then Salt Tea to regain our water level. We cleared all money matter with the mule fellow in the night. And decided to move further by road the next day.
We left Mikkim at 8:00am by the local bus to Kaza & reached Kaza at 9:15am also traveled further by Sumo hired at Kaza to reach Solang Nala/Manali the same day. We reached our hotel at 5:00pm. Luckily the road was cleared that day since we heard from local about landslide due o rain few days before this day.
Rest at hotel and did further travel arrangement & decided to move to Delhi by HP tourism bus to Delhi the next day.
After all closure of money matter we left the hotel in the afternoon to catch the evening bus. We left Manali at 6:30pm & reached 11am the next day at ISBT. Further we traveled to Mumbai by paschim express. We reached on 28 th day in Mumbai. And that was the end of our expedition.