Once we came back, all of us carried a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. However the night was left and that was one hell of a night. As it grew darker, temperature started falling drastically. No one could sense this more than us as we were not at all prepared for such a temperature drop as this. Immediately, two of our friends started feeling uneasy. Headache, dizzyness and cold started gripping all of us one after another. As the condition of two of our friends became severe, we reached out to the local guys. They immediately came to our rescue and allowed them to stay in their camp which was warm and local experience was available. We made friends with a guy named Jamaica who helps the campers with equipment, food and of course valuable life saving advises. Once we settled our sick friends and had a simple yet satisfying dinner, the rest of us headed back to our camps.
We had set our camera outside to get some time lapse videos but we never thought that nobody would have the guts to go out even once and check if it was working. The temperature dropped to sub zero and we tried all possible ways to keep us warm, smokes, Rum and fire but nothing helped. We wore all we could and that included multiple pairs of socks, all the clothes we had and got inside our sleeping bags with shoes. We had no other option. I was feeling so uneasy that I was just praying for the night to get over. All of us wanted to go join two of our sick friends in the warm tent but there was no more space left. The cold and oxygen scarcity got so much better of us that I did not even go out to pee.
That night I felt that if something happens to me or any of us, there is nothing much anyone could do at that time and place. We somehow lived through the night to wake up next morning and see layers of ice on our tent and the surrounding areas.
Few important lifesaving lessons that I learnt that day and which all travellers should know includes:
1. Keep yourself educated of the weather, terrain and temperature before going to any place above a height of 9000 ft.
2. Always be safe and carry sub zero camping gears while camping in secluded and cut off places like Chandrataal. You never know when the temperature drops suddenly at night
3. Always keep medicines with you. Take medicines (like Diamox) before reaching any place above a height of 14000 ft
4. Avoid drinking heavily the day before or in the day time
5. Avoid excessive smoking as it interferes with breathing and oxygen intake
6. Always keep your hands and feet warm in cases similar to ours
7. Get to know the help and assistance available beforehand in case something happens
8. Drink a lot of water and keep chocolate/energy bars handy. This helps produce body heat
9. Hot water bags help a lot but is not always available. Local help can be used for getting hot water
10. If you have a car and face a situation like us, the best option is to sleep in the car with ac on