Saturday, May 7, 2011

over the TOP

Since the days I started my research about the Himalayas and actually started trekking, I have noticed a lot of expeditions made by various groups to various peaks. Though I encourage such expeditions by all these groups, but I want to take the opportunity to warn a lot of people against a grave misadventure into such treks and expeditions. I was witness to such a tragedy some years back when I made my first attempt at a serious trek in the Himalayas. Two seasoned women trekkers(Vijaya Mate Age 52 from Parel.Native place Ahmednagar and Rita Shah Age 43 from Goregaon) lost their lives at Diskari(Biskari) camp in a blizzard on 5th May, just a day before I started climbing on the same route. I did not face the circumstances which the women faced, but even in my group we had enough people who were physically not fit enough to complete a trek of that magnitude. coming back to the topic at hand. I am just noting down some treks which I have come across this year and I thought are a bit over the top. Basically because they are advertising them as something everyone can do. My reason for calling it a bit over the top is not only about the nature of the trek, but also the fact that such an endeavor involves with it the need for a client to obey, follow and do as the guide would expect him to. Secondly, the physical fitness aspect of the client and also about how the client would react in situations when mother nature leaves even the guide helpless. Like it is in mountaineering jargon, "Its not about going up, its also about coming down safe" I will not be mentioning the names of the agency which is offering such treks but you are welcome to google for it :) 1> Himalayan Five Peak Challenge
Starting from the Solang Nullah valley, which is well known for its adventure sports the 5 peak challenge is something, which on face value would really attract a lot of people. I will not deny but it attracted me too, but I really know when to hit the 'control your hormones button'
Peaks that will be attempted:
  • Shitidhar (5150m/17100 ft)
  • Ladakhi (5345m/18200 ft)
  • Manali (5640m/18900 ft)
  • Friendship (5289 m/ 17348 ft)
  • Hanuman Tibba (5984m/ 19633 ft)
I would say this is a not so human challenge for the people who are really willing to shell out that kind of money to really complete this expedition. And if you are really think 2 months of jogging and climbing up to Matheran for a weekend is going to help you up that mountain, I think you should try Everest next.
Its not always just about these peaks being easy, its all about the ever changing climate.Considering myself very good at reading the skies I would not think twice before saying that I have very rarely seen even locals who can really predict climatic changes at that height, I have failed too. lets get to our second trek
2>Stok Kangri Expedition
Stok Kangri (elevation 6,137 m (20,135 feet) is the highest mountain in the Stok Range of the Himalayas in the Ladakh region of northwest India. The peak is located in Hemis National Park, 12 km southwest of the trailhead at 3,610 m (11,845 feet) in the village of Stok and 24 km. southwest of the Ladakhi capital ofLeh.
Though considered safe to climb I have only one suggestion for people who really want to climb the particular peak to test themselves before.
Secondly do not fly into Leh. I would suggest taking a bus Delhi-Manali-Leh. Gives you more time at high altitude before getting into Leh and acclimatisation becomes a lot more easier than just flying in from such a height. If you are up for it, try renting a cycle in Leh and try cycling 50 kilometers. If you can come back to your hotel, change clothes and eat food without falling off your feet, you could think of a twofer :)
3>Sar Pass Trek
I know its very cheap and a million people have done it. Yes, and its only Rs.3,000/- everything covered. Trust me when you stand at base camp and look up at Pin Parvati, you will seriously wet your pants. Secondly beware of what you eat and what they feed. Its edible and its tasty, but when you start going higher and higher everything starts jamming up with the extra ghee in food.
***These comments are purely mine. I do not intend to be critical of people climbing but my real intention on this post is to warn against misadventure.
If one of you really makes it to the top of the 5 peaks, do call me up. I will honor you with a page on my blog.
  • Remember that anywhere over 5000ft people do die. Its not a phenomenon restricted to the big ones.
  • Its not always about going up, you've got to come back down as well.
  • The peak will always be there, you've got to stay alive to climb it.

No comments:

Post a Comment