Continued from Part 1..
The next day we got up at 7 am, had Maggi in breakfast and started walking at around 8. The way was through lush wild forests of deodar and pine trees. We met a few people coming down that way, they were from the YHAI group and wished us luck for the trek. They also told us that there is a good amount of snow at the top and that would add fun to our trek. The fact that there were a few children of 14-19 age group also gave us some confidence that we can at least reach the top. We weren’t thinking much about how to cross the pass yet.
After walking on steep slope for around 2 hours, we reached Ghon kradi and we could see Naya Tapru. We decided to take a halt there for few minutes. It was a beautiful location and now we were surrounded by mountains on almost all sides, the Dhauladhar behind us, the panoramic view of the Pir Panjal range and also the view of villages of Kullu Valley. I requested our guides to give us some extra time before we move ahead so that I could take more pictures and enjoy that place. Naya Tapru was just a couple of hours away from this place and we decided to have our lunch there.
In the next 2 hours we reached Ghon kradi and decided to take a halt for a few minutes. I requested our guides to give us some extra time before we move ahead so that I could take more pictures and enjoy the serenity of the place. Naya Tapru was just a couple of hours away from this place and we decided to have our lunch there. At around 1.00 pm we reached Naya Tapru and it was a beautiful place surrounded by mountains on almost all sides, the Dhauladhar range behind us and the panoramic view of the Pir Panjal range on our left. Also, the view of Deo Tibba and Hanuman Tibba towards the valley and first sight of Chanderkhani Pass added to our excitement for what was coming next. It looked really close from where we were standing but we actually had to climb 3000 feet more. The tree line was vanishing now and to add to our worries, we could see the valley slowly getting covered by fog and dense clouds.
The guide told us to make it fast because it would be difficult to walk if it rained. It started drizzling and we were all kind of worried. We passed a few grassy patches and there were no signs of Pine and Oak trees now and all we could see were Bhojpatra trees and dwarf Rhododendron shrubs. The sky was getting darker and we could hear the thunder giving us the hints that the weather might get worse. There was a steep patch made by a water stream on our way and the rains made it tougher for us to climb the stones. We couldn’t walk and decided to stop near a small holy place of Jamtagni rishi (the saint who is worshipped in the Malana valley), where we waited for 20 minutes. The patch for the next one hour was almost plain and the rains had made the weather conditions pleasant to walk. We literally ran at a few places and that was the best part of second day. At around 4.30 pm we made it to the base camp for day 2 which was right below the Chanderkhani Pass(at an altitude of 10,800 feet). We found a Maggi point (by the YHAI people I guess) there and had tea and omelet, relaxed there for a while and then moved to find places to pitch our tents.
It was an extremely cold evening. We pitched our tents and took rest for a while before moving out of our tents in warmer clothes. Patches of snow were present right behind our campsite and we had full view of Chanderkhani pass. Fog and dense clouds blocked the view of valley and all we could see was dense shrubs and Bhojpatra trees at a distance of some 100m to us. The maggi point near our camp was owned by guide’s friend so we got a place to sit around the ‘Chulah’. Bhushan wasn’t feeling well that day because of the sudden altitude change and was suffering from headache. While the food was getting prepared, the guides told us stories about the people with whom he had gone before for the same trek. He was also telling us that during the annual fair held in Malana, people from Manali and Kullu cross the Chanderkhani Pass in less than a day’s time.
The temperature in the night went below zero and the rains made it colder. Everything in our tents was at freezing temperature and the only place comforting enough was our sleeping bags. The next day and the last day was the most important day for us and our guide told us to get up early so that we cross snow patches before the sun comes up and melts/softens the snow and making it tough to walk.