Reviews of Kedarkantha Peak • 21
The next morning, I was up and ready to start my trek. I took momos from the counter and started off by having an early breakfast and tea. I was willing to cover maximum distance possible on the first day itself and aimed to complete it in two days. But I was told by the locals that it would be very difficult, or rather impossible for a newcomer to do it. After the entry into the national park, I thought the trek to be comfortable after seeing the road from the entrance to the point where it all actually started. I started off at 8 in the morning and reached the first base camp at around 2 PM. I started off slow, and the steep climb was taking its toll over my body. By the time I reached Juda ka Talaab, I was exhausted to the core. The locals kept referring the climb to be as ‘Meethi Chadhaai,’ but for me, it seemed to be ‘Teekhi Chadhaai.’ Mustering all my strength, I started off towards the base camp. I had an apple, a packet of energy biscuits and momos to keep my energy level up. With a struggle, I reached the base camp by evening 5:30 PM. As soon as I reached, I set up my tent in a jiffy and slept off without having dinner. I could not muster the energy to gather some logs to light a fire and keep myself warm for the night. I knew I had to have a good night sleep as I hadto leave early in the morning towards the summit. I slept, but woke to my aching stomach around 8PM to have momos and apple to satiate my hunger. I slept soon after. The minimum temperature for that night was around – 18 degrees, cold enough to render me sleepless in the night.
Day 4 : Pukhrola (10,800 ft) to Kedarkantha Summit (or not) and back to Hargaon (8,450 ft)In the middle of the night, when I woke up and had to attend nature's call, what I saw outside blew my mind. There was around 6 inches of soft snow outside our tents, and I had to go out, which had already made my night miserable. The main problem was when we realized that it was just 11.15 pm. If the snowfall didn't end, our chances of the summit were diminishing. We went off to sleep. A few more hours into the night, I could hear my trek guides yelling out to everyone to shake their tents so that the snow could fall off. In heavy snowfall, the snow gathers on top of the tents and if not taken care of, the tents might get buried inside the soft snow. A similar thing had happened at Bhagwabasa (Roopkund base camp at 14500 ft), so we knew what was to be done then. We took turns in getting up and shaking the snow off until finally the alarm went off at 6.10 am.The outer cover of the tent had saved our shoes from the snow, but the zips of the tent flap had frozen overnight. So, the challenge for everyone was to get out of their tents and put their shoes on (also go and complete the morning formalities). We were among the first to come outside, the heavenly sight graced us, which felt like a dream come true. This would surely beat all the 'imagine waking up to this!' posts on Instagram!
Pukhrola (10,800 ft), being on a flat land at the base of Kedarkantha, had the most stunning views of the all the surrounding peaks. The photographer in me was having a wonderful time, as were the fellow trekkers who told me to capture their memories.
12,500ft | -22°CWe wrapped our tents up, and decided to hike uphill towards Kedarkantha Peak. It was going to be a bit tough as we were to retreat back to the same camp, but our team aced it anyway. The view and sceneries on this day were the best. We snow-slided and played a lot of random games with the fresh snow there. Then, as planned, headed back to the Camp. Lunch was a little late and all of us were starving. TTH served us with hot Rajma-Chawal. I had never been so excited at the sight of Rajma-Chawal ever before.
Day 3: Base camp - KK summit - Base campThe next day we started early at the golden hour when the peaks were all lit like candles.
It was just half an hour into walking that it started raining again but since we were moving upwards and the temperature was dropping below zero the rain turned into snowfall. It was like our wish had come true. No matter how hard the mountain is, things always get better. When things get tough, hold tight, because the next moment would be a new experience. Everything was covered in snow. I looked all around and the world seemed like an infinite patch of white. The snowstorm was at its peak and we were unable to see anything beyond ten meters. We sat beside the fire inside the old canteen and ordered some tea and omelet. We rested there for a while and then went outside to play in the snow. There were some epic snow battles played with snowballs and walking sticks. It was real fun to play when the temperature is close to minus 10 degrees .
Day 3 - Juda-ka-Talab to Kedarkantha base campThe next day morning, for few minutes, the sun peeped through the grey clouds which were looming large. The shades of yellow cutting through the white tainted trees looked like golden threads among the white blanket. The warmth of the sun was soo comforting!
Started again with snow all around us, we reached the Base camp around 3 in the noon. We were continuously drinking glucose water throughout the walk to avoid dehydration. We had some self prepared oats and peanuts there before we started preparing our tents. We roamed around the place for an hour or 2 in the evening in search of woods and water, as during winter both are not easily available in this region of trek. Due to bad weather, as it started snowing as the sun goes down, we were unable to bonfire and our night started early.Day 3: Base camp - Kedarkantha summit - Sankri
Trek Day 3 - Base Camp to Summit - Ascent : 1250 ft - Distance : 2kms - Time : 5 hoursThe D Day - a lot was discussed last night about starting early, yet we started late around 8 am. That was going to be a very long eventful day. We were given Micro-crampons along with our Gaiters as the trail was full of snow. The news of 4-5 ft snow on the way to summit was making rounds since we arrived in Sankri , so we were pretty confused.After trekking 1 km through feet deep snow we reached the last Tea point on the trail . From there we were able to see trekkers are going towards the summit , near the final ascent. Gangaji asked us ther we want to do summit or not , answer was "Yes". The only thing running in my mind was "If they can , Why can't we". But sadly one of our team mates was too ill , she decided to stay at the Tea point.
Trek Day 2 - Juda Ka Talaab to Kedarkanth Base Camp - Ascent : 2150 ft - Distance : 4kms - Time : 2 hoursKedarkantha Base Camp (11250 ft) is further 4 kms from the Juda Ka Talaab campsite. This trail was full of snow , so we were given pair of Gaiters. In this trail the trekkers pass through lush meadows of snow and for the first time catch the view multiple snow capped peaks standing tall encircling the location. One of the most relaxing days as the trek is hardly about 2.5 hrs and very less ascent.
We left camp at 5:30. It was dark and we walked in single file. I was the second from the front, which may sound good, until you learn that the slowest members of the group are kept right in the lead. Yeah.It was still dark, and we moved slow, stepping in the footprints (rather holes) left by the person in front of us. We had only our torch light to guide our steps. We kept walking , with a small break in between for a sip of water.Gradually, the sky got lighter, and the torches went off. We stopped at one point to see the sun rise above the mountains.The rays of golden sunlight streaming from behind the snow clad mountains was like a dreamscape. A hush fell over us as we watched the "golden peaks" and then the clouds started rolling in.We lined up and started off again, with the threat of snow building up with the leaden clouds moving our way.Now the group was scattered, with the faster folk walking ahead while us "slowmos" trudging along behind. The going was slow. The heavy snow blanket, some places 5 ft deep, hindered any attempts at a faster pace. The peak still seemed far far off.
After a cold cold (cold!) night in our tent, we set off for Base camp the next day. It was to be a 4 km trek and all uphill.I tried keeping up with the group, but only ended up having a wheezing session. So I decided to take it easy, walk at my own pace (i.e. at the most furthest tail end of the group).Prashant , as always was there , keeping pace with my (slow) moves.The snow got deeper as we proceeded, and the only vegetation was giant pines and an occasional oak. We finally broke through the woods, and before us was an ocean of white, with the Kedarkantha peak as a backdrop, and pine forests on both sides. It. Was. Beautiful.We parked our weary asses on mats, since our tents weren't up yet, and accepted the proffered tea gratefully. But our rest was short-lived, since our guide came along with the news that we had to start stomping. Yeah, stomping!Turns out, the snow was 4 ft or so deep and we needed to flatten it in order to pitch our tents. We got up grudgingly , but it turned into a game, and soon everyone was stomping and jumping enthusiastically!Tents pitched, we had an early dinner and set off to bed. The trek to our summit was to start 4:30 am the next day.
Trek to Kedarkantha (7 to 12 May 2016)By Nilay ShahDecided to go on trekking Vs hill station/beach destination:It’s decided to give some break to JAVA, Apache, corba exception, timeouts, 401 Unknown errors (C’mon Microsoft It’s more than 20 yrs. and still you can’t find unknown…have some mercy on IT prod support managers). After visiting obvious vacation destinations multiple times (Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Kashid, Goa) it was understood to go after experiences rather than following the herd. Watching NGC and reading lonely planet series also played its part. For relaxing and unwinding, my home is a better place with creek view and lake view during high tide, provided I can switch off my phone. It was unanimously decided to go on a trek, an easy to moderate family trek.Choosing the trek partnerGoogled and Indiahikes was suggested. Sent inquiry wrt trek difficulty and whether my daughter can do it. Received a prompt response from Indiahikes to go for kedarkantha trek with the punch line “your daughter will feel the sense of achievement”. Bingo am 50% in. Decided to do some research and read reviews before we book but couldn’t do because of the office schedule and what, found that batches are getting full very fast also there is absolutely no call back or follow up from Indiahikes to book. This gave me confidence that Indiahikes is treading (they don’t need to track leads) and without hesitation enrolled myself, wife and daughter for 7th May batch. They never disappointed me.Preparation:Its first week of Apr’16, we fixed all logistics and bookings. All of us including my 10 year princess was excited. Now here is the difference when you prepare to visit traditional places vs go on trekking. We felt like we were preparing for some mission or war. Huge role played by “trek with Swathi” video series uploaded by Swathi from Indiahikes on various aspects of trekking including how to gain fitness for trekking, what to carry on trek, how to pack your back pack, what’s AMS and how to prevent it.It goes into details like difference between gym track pant and trekking track pant also on sports shoes Vs trek shoes. Videos helped to excite my daughter and kept her engaged throughout, otherwise she was little oblivious about the trekking destination choice.The easiest part was to purchase trekking gears. We all bathed head to toe in Quechua at Decathlon. While picking the gears and trying we felt like the heroes of 90s film when in the end hero prepares for the ultimate fight with villain and picks up guns, ammunitions in various sizes and designs and hides them everywhere around his body (i.e. Arnold in Commando). While coming back home after shopping, we all were singing “Rang de tu mohe Quechua…..” Certain level of physical fitness is pre requisite to enjoy the trek troublefree.While me and wife are regular to the gym and do weights and cardio but my daughter was not regular in physical activity and that was the challenge we need to overcome. Vacation period was the savior.We go for the family jog around sea shore on sat-sun and content our self by climbing our 12 storey building stairs 4/5 times on week days. My daughter started to like Swathi and in one of her videos she suggested some YouTube video on home workout for trekking. Got the jackpot, my daughter followed it religiously while we were away in the office.The Experience:Imagine best of sceneries straight from the New Year greeting postcards, freshest of air and water, no sound, rather to be precise no any artificial sound, absolutely nothing to do which can be termed as work, excellent mix of 26 trekkers from diverse background ageing min 10 yrs. to max 60 yrs, Professionals from HR, IT, Doctor, Engg college and school students, expert trekking legends as guide and trek lead, absolutely no network signal (Airtel 4G girl pl. note) to disturb and Excellent food. Wait it does not end here. No need to bath, am not joking, even if you want to you can’t…one the water is very cold and also you won’t feel the need to take bath. In future booking.com and goibibo will start mentioning no network coverage as a prominent location/hotel feature.There was never a dull moment. Something for all. We walked 4 to 5 hrs in the morning except the summit day. Time left is well spent in playing games in group. For e.g., Spot the captain: There will be one player who stands in the middle and rest will stand in a circle, one of the player will be nominated as captin (from circle).Player standing in middle will close eyes till the captain is nominated. Captain will change the dance/step action and rest will follow immediately. Captain keeps on changing the action and rest need to follow immediately. The player in the middle need to identify the captain in 3 attempts. Nights spent in playing ‘Mafia’ in the dining tent. (Google on how to play this game).Finally the summit day arrived. We were instructed to start at 4 am in order to reach the peak in time to watch sunrise. Alarm was set at 3 am but dog started barking from 2 am.I was half sleep in the anxiety of the 3 am alarm, cold and after dogs barking woke up completely. Following thoughts came in to my mind while lying in tent waiting for alarm to ring at 3:00 a.m. (In random order and repeatedly)1)In Instruction session it was mentioned good to have dog on the track as it can alarm us if it sees any stranger (read wild animal).What the dog had found this time?2)During the day saw animal bones scattered around camp site. Ribs, jaw, skull…Dr. Sindhu helped to identify.3)Checked safety knife around, just in case required… I already mentioned it feels like going on a mission or a war. This is one of that moment for a law obedient civilian.4)We were advised to drink minimum 5 ltr water to avoid AMS and I don’t take any chances by nature. In school exams if asked to answer any 5 out of 8 then I write all 8. Though in Engg College exams it was not possible to follow.I must have drank ard 7 to 8 ltrs water.5)It was very cold inside the tent and colder outside (ard 0 degree). Even changing sleep position requires strong will.And I desperately need to go out to release excess liquid from body.(murphy’s law you know)6)Pee buddy concept was taught for safety reasons. Means always take someone along in the night when you want to go out to pee.My pee buddy was my wife (in the same tent of course…no option) but can’t take my chances to wake her up. Do you? She won’t mind but I prefer to bear the pain of 100 locusts infesting my underpants than disturbing her sleep.Why no one has thought about the solution. Invention is required to handle such situation. Some device/medicine .Quechua are you listening,you guys already launched plates and mugs for trekking though its easily available in any household then why such critical safety miss.After waiting for 30 mins and contemplating jau ke na jau, Time had come when can’t hold any more and did justice while looking in all directions continuously.All trekkers successfully summited the kedarkantha peak at 12500 ft. Personal record for all the participants. Half of us would have left midway if there was no support and encouragement from the trek lead Abhirup and guide Yashpal. While descending one of the engg student twisted his feet and was unable to walk. Dr. Sindhu helped to apply bandage but pain was unbearable and so Friends helped by giving shoulder support while walking but a long distance was to be covered and all were already tired after walking since last 6 hrs. In the moment of crisis you find real hero Yashpal our trek guide as saviour. He lifted the injured on his back and ran, waiting only to take some rest and then ran again. What a scene, courage, strength….I told you it feels like a war mission. (Bringing injured soldier back alive…..ha ha)After summiting the peak, elated and excited, we reached the kedarkantha base camp at 1pm. Fresh and hot meal, gupshup with the trekkers on summit experience relieved the pain from ailing legs and prepared us for 2 hrs descent walk to our next camp site at Hargaon.It is the most picturesque trek and camp site. By the time we started to walk it was already drizzling and the trek became wet and muddy. This added additional fun. One need to use all balancing skills to survive the fall and slippages. All trekkers entered in unwritten competition, who falls the maximum times. Think Maitri grabbed the title with max falls, 5 times.I fell once my Poncho, jacket, gloves, and shoes all covered with mud….felt like played holi khul ke after 25 yrs….Last day at Sankri basecamp, Certificates distributed for successfully completing the trek. Cake was cut for the celebration. Contact nos and email ids shared. All participants agreed to upload photos on the drive. Everyone gave the speech mix of emotions/fun about their experiences and takeaways. Abhirup appreciated the group for successfully completing the summit despite having 6 kids in the group which is record till now. While on the way back to Dehradun, passed through ‘kempty fall’ at Mussoorie.There were thousands of people on the road. No place to even walk. Traffic jam and May heat. I lifted up my hand, Bent it at 90 degrees and petted my back for going on the trek vs traditional vacation spot..….Can see sense of satisfaction and happiness on the face of my daughter and wife. My daughter was like, Can’t wait to share my experience with friends and so do I, Hence this blog. Good job boy, good job. Enjoy……………
The next day everyone had their own fear as we were going to leave for the summit next day. We were going to leave at 4 30 am and we were awake at 3 30 am put on gaiters and spikes and 4 layers of clothes.We left at 5 am. It was so dark.
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