Today was acclimitisation day at the stok kangri base camp 16000ft. I woke up at 6:30-ish. Freshen up. Sat on a rock and meditated for like 30 this s meditation session was so amazing and refreshing. I reflected on myself and realised that I have meditated in a lot of different places. And that's amazing.
I realised that yes, it is cold here at base camp but it's my choice how j react to it. There is a difference between feeling cold and acting on it. Though my nose was dripping and my hands were cold. It was totally my choice whether to act on it or not.
After that had tea. Breakfast was at 9:30am so I had time to kill. I sat with a local guide who was really good person and funny, the same Sherpa who was juggling 3 balls the previous day. He shared his stories about how he used to sleep during the treks when client took too long to walk.
Talked with fellow trekkers (very good friends) and just went around the campsite. Then at 9 30 breakfast was served . Had aaloo parathas with butter and cornflakes with milk. Then Rishi had to go to the doc for ors because he was dehydrated and a little sick , so after breakfast we went to the medical tent looking for Dr Bhushan, as I entered the medical tent, Dr Bhushan shouted - ," Where were you, you just missed an interesting case". Jhanavi was also there assisting Dr Bhushan treat the patient.
The patient was none other than the Sherpa with whom I talked for like 30minutes. He had a laceration in his right palm and an elbow fracture. Dr Bhushan had sutured the lacerated wound and applied plaster on his right arm. It was actually an interesting case which I missed.
The Sherpa tripped over a camp wire and fell. That's how he got injured. Dr Bhushan advised him to descend down asap.I got Rishi a packet of ORS from the medical tent.
After that I went and talked with Jhanavi for few minutes, the girl who was trying to do the 7 summits . She had just climbed a nearby virgin peak. She was really amazing but at the same time she was uneducated. She didn't go to school since she started the explorer grand slam when she was 12 yrs old.
Then me and Rishi went inside the Mitra tent and made some new friends. We talked and had a lot of fun. There was this girl from Australia- Briaya and this girl from Mumbai- Akansha and 3 more guys Michael , Dave and I don't remember the name of the last one. We played bluff. We played cards for hours and it was so much fun. After that me and Rishi headed back to out Bikat Adventure group. Had lunch at 2pm.
Since tonight was the summit attempt, there was going to be drill to prepare us for tonight. At around 4 pm We were shown the equipments we were supposed to carry and wear and the formation we had to be in .
9 people out of 15 were attempting the summit tonight. So for the formation we were split into 2 groups of 4 and 5 people. We wore helmets, waist braces and everyone was tied to each other by a rope.
We were taught how to trek as a team and not individually. It was really fun to learn all of this. Soon it was sunset time . At around 5:45 pm I went back in the tent for getting a sleep cause we had to trek all night. The plan was to assemble in the dining tent with all the gear at 8pm and have light dinner. And by 10 pm we were supposed to head out for the stok kangri summit.
At 6 pm I dressed up for the trek and packed my stuff. Then I listened to music in my tent for like 1 and half hour. I tried to sleep but could only lie down and relax but I couldn't sleep.
Got up at 8 pm and did my final packing for the summit attempt and by 8:20 pm, I was in the dinning tent all set. Everyone was there. Ready to roll and rumble. We had some light dinner. Porridge was served and we got packed lunch also to carry with us since we were about to trek for next 14 hours straight.
We got chocolates, toffees , apple, boiled potato and juice packs. Soon it was 9: 50 pm and we assembled outside the tent, all set to conquer Stok Kangri summit.
It was an amazing moment. We were about to climb the highest mountain of the stok range in Ladakh. We said our goodbyes to the rest of the team who were staying back at the base camp. It was really nice of them to come out in the cold and give us some emotional support.Especially Rahul. He was really supportive and gave his best wishes.
As soon as it hit 10 20 pm, a line of 13 trekkers, one trek leader (Lallit), one co-trek leader(Abhishek) and 2 guides (Norbu and Namgyal) and 9 of us with lights strapped to our head and trekking poles in our hand could be seen going up the mountains.
I was at the 4th position from the front. At the front was Norbu (our guide) behind him was Anupam and then Hemant and then me. After 40 minutes we reached the point till where we went the previous day for acclimitisation walk.
Everything was going good. Took a brief 2 minute water break and then started again. I was chewing toffees all the way. Soon we reached the advanced base camp and took another water break. Soon it hit 12 am. While trekking me and Hemant were talking about eating butter chicken and garlic naan as soon as we reach Leh. Haha. That in itself gave me an energy boost.
The trail at advanced base camp was all rocky and narrow. We were actually walking on the slant of a mountain. Soon the trail became a little icy and muddy with rocks. It was fun walking there. I was put in front position cause Anupam was not feeling like walking at the front.
I was happy to be in the front. Norbu was in front of me since he was leading the group. I was just observing and mimicking his footsteps. I knew I could trust his footsteps after all he was our Sherpa. I kept my foot exactly where he kept his foot, just following his trail.
Soon we were walking on a trail covered with ice. And Norbu said that we have entered the glacier. I was stoked to be walking on a glacier , it was the first time for me.
PS: it was all darkness around us. 1am in the mountains with no source of light other than the headlamps.
Soon we had our water break and as soon as I stopped , I saw below my feet was SNOW, in front of me were these giant boulders of snow covered rocks, they were cylindrical in shape and I felt like i am on a whole different planet. Since it was all covered in snow, our Sherpas Norbu and Namgyal were having a hard time finding the way.
So they made us stop and wait till they went further to find the trail. At that moment I realised that Mother Earth is a huge place. And I am born on this planet to explore my mother earth.
Everytime we stopped for a water break , our trek leader Lallit would ask everyone how are they feeling , and wether they are feeling tired , sick or anything like that.
Till this point some people of our group were suffering from headache including me. It is pretty much normal to suffer from headache since we were gaining altitude very quickly.
I saw Rishi sitting on a rock , feeling cold with his arms wrapped around himself. I asked him wether he was feeling fine, he said that he's okay and it just the headache.
So far I felt amazing about our journey and I thought to myself , damn I am gonna be on the top of stok kangri in a few hours.
Soon our guides returned with good news that they found thy trail.
We continued our trek into the unknown darkness by follothe footsteps of Norbu.
Soon we reached a point where there was this deep crevice in the snow.
This was the serious shit. If we fall down, we fall down for good.
As we reached it Norbu said that we had to cross it. I said what ? He said, " jump across".
And that's what he did. He jumped across the crevice like it was just a puddle of water on a street and held out his hand to me to do the same.
What did I do ? I got excited and jumped like I am jumping for my life. Haha. It was so much fun. As I jumped, I looked down into it and I saw sharp ice edges hanging down into complete darkness. That was just pure thrill.
I jumped across it and so did the other 11 of us.
Now we continued to trek on thick sheet of snow. And the clocked ticked to 1 30 am.
After half an hour more of trekking we reached the zig zag trail which would lead us to the shoulder of the mount stok kangri. Norbu said that this is supposed to be the hardest part of the expidition. Since we had to go up a steep 75 to 80 degree incline.
As I looked back, I could see the headlamps of other trekkers in the dark. I could only see a the headlamps in complete darkness. It seemed like stars were on the ground walking towards us.
We continued the trek and stopped for a few water breaks on the way.
At one water break , i saw my watch and it said 2 am. Beside me was Anupam struggling for breath and asking Norbu how much longer ? Norbu replied 4 hours more. Anupam seemed shocked to hear that.
I said to him that Anupam do you realise that this only means we have already trekked for 4 hours and we are half way through and it's only downhill from here.
He agreed and we continued climbing our stok kangri.
Now it was snowing also. At this time I was losing consciousness. I was having brief black outs and loss of motor control. As soon as we hit a water break i sat down and drank hot water and ate Snickers chocolate.
Sugar helped me get through this.
Now we trekked again going in a zig zag manner up the mountain. At the next water break point which we took only after 15 min of trekking , I sat on a rock there and soon came Braiya , Akansha and 2 other trekkers including a Sherpa.
I was surprised to see them and I said hi. They also greeted me. I offered them almonds and they were thankful for that.
They were going really fast and
I also ate dry fruits at this point and that Gave me energy.
At this point we had to rope up. Cause now the trail was dangerous and deadly. In front of me was shasvat and behind me was Hemant. And overall I was at the 4th Position from the front.
We continued trekking and we would shout "HALUT" to stop and "MOVE" to continue trekking. Since all of us were tied by ropes split into 2 groups so if one stopped all had to stop.
As we trekked toward to shoulder the snowfall turned into a blizzard and we were just struggling to keep moving no matter what.
We would halt and then we would move again and again. Soon it ticked 4: 20 am and we reached the shoulder of the mount Stok Kangri. I did not know what the shoulder of a mountain looked like until I reached it.
As we reached it , I walked up to the edge and looked down. And what I saw was unreal. I and only seen it in movies. It was this steep 80 degree decline down into darkness. I screamed wooooooohoooooo on the top of my voice out of excitement.
A voice said to me don't look down. I replied to that - are you crazy ?? Look down! It's mother nature in all her might !!
We continued trekking. It was 2 hours more to the summit of Stok Kangri.
Soon we were walking in places I could only dream of. I felt like a real explorer.
This was like a dream come true. Though I was completely exhausted, it was so worth the pain.
Something was happening in our surroundings, light was falling on us. The sun was coming up. From total black , our surroundings turned into dark purple and then soon into light purple. Time was 4: 45am.
Now we were going up this steep incline covered with snow and rocks.
Soon we reached another water break point and we sat there to put on our crampons.
Then Norbu said something which I hated to hear. He said, " The weather is really bad , I don't think we can continue". To this I replied, I don't care about the weather, just take me to the summit and if anyone wants out they can go back to the base camp. I was being arrogant and rude. But I think that's how you survive the mountains.
So we all continued the trek. With crampons under our feet, and spirit of fire in our hearts we went all in.
Now after another hour or so of trekking and climbing, shasvat and Hemant were stopping a lot , and since I was in between them I had to stop too. I hated that and at times I lashed at them for being slow. I am really sorry for that. Truly.
But then I just kept encouraging them , that they can do it. Just move no matter what.
Soon it clicked 6am and we are still walking.
Now I was exhausted and just wanted to see the summit. It wasn't even visible.
Soon Norbu said 10 more minutes and that started a fire in me. I was maxing out.
Then after 10 more minutes, Norbu again said 10 more minutes.
And i was like okay. It must have been a mistake the last time.
Then after 10 minutes Norbu again said 10 more minutes, ! At this point Anupam lost it and lashed at Norbu for lying.
Then Norbu became frustrated and shouted that he cannot take this anymore and asked all of us to turn back.
Now I lost it and shouted again, " I don't care for anyone, take me alone to the summit Norbu!" He said okay.
I really didn't care if it took 10 more hours to summit.
I had a mission and I had to complete it.
Then Anupam apologised and we all continued the trek.
At 6:59 am we reached the summit of stok kangri mountain. 6053m / 20000ft.
This was the happiest I had ever been. I hugged Rohit and Rishi and we shouted and celebrated at the top.
This was huge accomplishment.
Since our group was divided into 2 groups , our group consisting of Norbu, Anupam, Rohit, Shasvat , me , Hemant and Rishi and Abhishek reached first.
We clicked some rad pics and videos at the top.
And then we did what we planned to do at the summit.
THE KIKI CHALLENGE. hahaha. Yes we danced to In my feelings by Drake at the Stok Kangri summit. The summit was covered with snow and clouds. We couldn't see anything else. That was disappointing but I was fine with it.
What mattered to me was that I had just summited STOK KANGRI.
Soon Divya , Shreyas ,Lallit , Rakesh and Namgyal also reached the summit.
We stayed at the summit for like half an hour more and then started to descend.
Stared the descend at 8 am. Norbu said we would reach the base camp in like 4 hours. So 12pm.
Now when we started our descend , it was harder than I thought it would be.
At this time I was completely exhausted. My legs and my hands in fact my whole body was in autopilot mode.
That is I was just mimicking the person in front of me. Just descending down not knowing when and wether I would be able to reach back home from here.
While coming down it felt like magic. It really really felt like I'm in a dream .
The scene was like this : I was climbing down a steep descent and most of the times I was sitting on the rocks and just crawling my way down.
I remember as I was standing I was moving like a pendulum Bob. From one side to other and then whenever I heard MOVE , I would move and whenever I heard Halt, I would HALUT.
I would sit on rocks in between and eat Snickers bar. As I would sit, my eyeslids would shut my eyes automatically but somehow I prevented that from happening by shaking my head or something like that.
I even slipped and fell down a couple of times but thank God I was tied to Hemant by a rope.
I felt completely spent. I just wanted some sleep.
Climbing down from the summit till the shoulder was the hardest but it was so beautiful that even at this time I was smiling and feeling happy. Cause damn I had just climbed stok kangri.
The trail was covered with snow and rocks and the snow also started to melt a little bit so we would slip more often.
Soon we reached the shoulder of the mountain and then came the zig zag.
As we were descending down the zig zag I got to see the glacier that we crossed at night from that height.
That glacier was called the pyramid glacier and it was so huge, vast and magestic. That as I saw it I shouted - " YE KYAA HAI B**NC**D" . It literally occupied most of my visual field.
By this time we had roped down. Finally there was no bondage. Hahaha.
Me, Norbu and shasvat sat there and clicked some pics. It was amazing. Just amazing.
It started from the bottom and took up the whole sky. It was magestic and beautiful that I couldn't even capture it's beauty in my DSLR.
All my tiredness and sleep was gone.
It felt like I'm on another planet completely.
And the good news was that we were walking towards it and we literally had to cross it again.
That was the best.
Soon we reached at the start of the glacier and it started snowing heavily there
As we reached the glacier and started walking , I slipped and fell down on my butt.
I asked Norbu the Sherpa what happened to me.
The floor was ice and very less snow.
He said that we have to walk like penguins here without lifting the feet.
And if you wanna lift and walk then you can only do that in the rocks which are not covered with rocks.
I was on the front with Norbu . Rest of the group was behind us.
Norbu would jump from one rock to another and I would copy his each and every step.
So we were literally jumping from one rock to another.
Sometimes my feet would fall on ice and I would slip and fall down.
Soon we reached the crevice we had jumped over at night and Norbu again helped everyone of us cross the crevice.
I was out of water and I was dehydrated. Then I saw a stream of water flowing down.
I asked people around me that if I could drink this water. They said it is the PUREST WATER you'll ever drink.
I filled up my bottle. And as I poured some water into my mouth it was freezing cold.
But damn it was yummy.
This might sound strange but that glacier water was the tastiest and purest water I have ever drank in my life.
It was around 2 hours more from here till the base camp. I was tired of this shit. I kind of knew the way back from here.
So I said to Norbu I am gonna trek fast and reach early. He said go ahead.
Now I got up to speed. The time was 10 am. And I thought I would reach by 12 pm.
After the glacier came the really rocky trail. I was just walking , following the trail and Crossed Rishi and 2 others who were at the front and I didn't know that.
Then I reached the advanced base camp. I knew I was going the right way.
Then I crossed Lallit and Anupam who were also at front.
Then finally at 1130 am I reached the acclimitisation point. The point where we went for acclimitisation walk the other day.
Now I just sat down. Checked for signal but no luck.
Soon Anupam and Lallit arrived. Lallit said we should wait for whole group and then descend down to the campsite which was right in front of us.
Anupam said he's too tired and started the descent to base camp.
I also said fuck it I have too poop , eat and sleep. So Tata.
I aslo started descent.
Then I crossed Anupam again and reached the base camp at 12 30 pm.
I was welcomed by Shwatadari . He gave me water and took care of me. I sat down and then I met Rashmi and then Rahul. They all were very happy to hear that all of the 9 trekkers had reached the summit.
It was an amazing experience in overall.
Then I freshen up , changed my clothes I was covered in sweat and dirt and then I ate some food.
I remember they had prepared Rajma chawal for us. I ate a lot of rajma chawal.
And then I drank a lot of water. Forgot to mention I had a 6 out of 10 grade headache the whole way back and it was just getting worse. .
I knew what I had to do. Sleep.
At around 2 30 pm I went to sleep.
Then I woke up at around 4 30. I went to walk around a little bit.
I bumped into Briaya once again. Haha they did the summit before us. She invited me into the Mitra tent. They we just about to begin a group meditation.
I also joined them.
So it was me, Briaya , Michael , Akansha , Dave and 1 one more guy. And we all meditated. This was a guided meditation and the guide was Dave. It was really amazing and relaxing the way he led the meditation.
I remember being lost in his voice. This was a body scan meditation.
When it ended , it was already 6 30pm. It was a long session. .
Then I just talked with my new friends and had a lot of fun. Soon it was their dinner time and dinner was served. I wanted to eat Maggie so I ordered it at the Mitra tent. Then I remembered that my group hs slow cooked dinner. Haha. I tried cancelling the Maggie. But they said it was already on the stove. I said fuck it. I'll ear double haha. I had burned so much calories that day, I could eat an elephant. Hahaha.
Now after eating Maggie and talking and having good fun with my friends Akansha and Braiya , I went back to my tent. Ate dinner and talked with my bikat group friends.
Today dinner was amazing. Especially the sweet dish. They gave us gulab jamun. Amazing.
Everything else was the usual , daal chawal chapati and sabzi.
After this it started to snow. It snowed heavily at the base camp. This reminded me of the brhamatal trek.
It was beautiful. But at the same time I also wished this wouldn't have happened Cause I knew that heavy snowfall could mean that we stay up all night. Since anything can happen at that time.
But fortunately nothing happened. I went into my tent after dusting off the collected snow on the tent. And then I took a clonazepam so that I could sleep like a baby.
And then a voice came from Lallit that said, " don't fall asleep , keep dusting off the snow."
I was like fuck. I could stay up even if I wanted to. I had just taken a sleeping pill and I was feeling drowsy already.
I stayed up dusting the snow for like 20 mins more and then at 9 30 pm I fell asleep.
Tata goodnight fuck the snowfall. I said to myself. And slept. Hahaha see ya tomorrow.